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Rakesh Sharma, chairman, Siam exports group. (PTI)
Rakesh Sharma, chairman, Siam exports group. (PTI)

Siam leads formation of South Asian Automotive Forum

  • Representatives of auto industry associations from South Asian countries have agreed to constitute this forum
  • Siam says the platform would help develop and nurture the neighboring markets by assisting in creation of right policies, build supply chain capabilities, among other areas

MUMBAI : Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (Siam), along with the automotive industry associations and government representatives from neighboring countries including Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka, have agreed to jointly constitute a South Asian Automotive Forum, the representing body of the Indian auto industry said in a statement on Thursday.

“The representatives of auto industry associations from South Asian countries have agreed to constitute this forum and a joint roadmap is being worked upon, Rakesh Sharma, chairman – Siam exports group and executive director, Bajaj Auto Ltd told Mint.

Explaining the intent behind setting up the joint forum, he said that the platform would help develop and nurture the neighboring markets by assisting in creation of right policies, build supply chain capabilities, ensuring transparency in terms of valuable information on local market requirements, among other areas.

Nearly two years ago, the authorities in Sri Lanka had made airbags mandatory on the locally retailed quadricycles, which became a roadblock for Bajaj Auto - the maker of Qute quadricycles. However, later the mandate was removed. Bajaj Auto exports quadricycles to Sri Lanka.

“A large share of our automobile exports, about 16% amounting to USD 1.8 billion per annum goes to these South Asian countries. Hence, it is important that a forum for discussions be established to ensure sustained and mutually beneficial growth," Sharma said.

Major automakers such as Hero MotoCorp Ltd, Tata Motors Ltd and Ashok Leyland Ltd have assembly plants in Bangladesh. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd (M&M), Ashok Leyland, Ceat Tyres Ltd are a few other key examples with assembly units in Sri Lanka.

“The aim is to build a closer engagement within the South Asian automotive fraternity to support the development of an efficient value chain and serve the large customer base whilst meeting the objectives of the respective governments," Sharma said.

Representatives at Siam met their counterparts at Bangladesh Automobiles Assemblers & Manufacturers Association (BAAMA), Automobiles Association of Nepal (NADA), Myanmar Automobile Manufacturers and Distributors Association (MAMDA) and Ceylon Motor Traders Association (CMTA) recently.

The delegates agreed for cooperation on a four point proposal that includes exchange of views and information on topics of mutual interest, organizing joint conferences, seminars and trade shows, business meetings and delegation visits to manufacturing facilities, provide inputs on policies on homologation, testing and (vehicle) scrappage facilities and road safety. Several delegates from the said associations had also visited the Delhi Auto Expo earlier this month.

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