South Asia Free Trade Agreement
The last summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), last month in Thimphu, had mandated creation of a South Asia Forum, consisting of diverse stakeholders from all member-countries to generate ideas to further links. This is now taking shape.
The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) has so far been long on promises but short on actions. It was envisaged to raise inter-regional trade in South Asia - which is one of the world’s least economically integrated regions - to $40 billion by 2015 from $11bn in 2007, shortly after it was agreed. But that now clearly remains a very tall promise.
Nepal and Bhutan are holding bilateral trade talks in Bhutanese capital city Thimpu on Tuesday in order to promote bilateral trade between the two landlocked countries in South Asia.
All members of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) unanimously resolved to promote trade and strengthen economic ties besides accelerating the developmental activities among member countries.
On the eve of India-Pakistan trade talks, New Delhi on Tuesday said “possible doables” to upgrade bilateral economic engagement would be clear after the Commerce Secretaries complete their discussion in Islamabad.
Nepal is proposing removal of about 260 items from existing sensitive list of goods for imports at the upcoming meeting of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) scheduled to be held in the last week of March in Kathmandu.
The negative list of South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) comprises 53 per cent of the total trade between the regional countries, therefore, fully implementation on the agreement would not even yield the desired results, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Pakistan does not keep in line with the provisions of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) concerning imports from India, said Sharat Sabharwal, High Commissioner of India during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.
If entering into trade agreements is opening up the floodgates to bigger countries, then some in Sri Lanka do not want the flood-gates opened to India, but the government has already done so, for seven other countries besides India. CEPA is carved in stone, some claim, but it is far from reality
South Asia Agreement on Trade in Services among seven South Asian countries including Pakistan and India is expected to end by the end of 2010, official sources informed Daily Times on Monday.
Economic integration of all the eight South Asian countries posses a challenge to the political leaders of the region.
Though South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was operationalised from July 2006 the intra regional trade increased at a snail space from 3.2% in 1980s to only 5.5% in 2008, which is far below when compared with 58% in NAFTA, 54% in European Union, 25% in ASEAN and 22% in COMESA.
When the Rubber Bill (intended to amend the Rubber Act, 1947) was presented in Parliament on August 7, the Opposition did not let it through. The reason was, it was presented by Prithviraj Chavan, minister of state for parliamentary affairs, and not any minister of commerce and industry, which is the ministry concerned.
South Asian Economists and Academics said that integrating the region through services liberalization would require a flexible approach that permits special and differential treatment of least developed countries in the region and also of countries least prepared to open up their services for trade.
South Asia has commenced negotiations in to incorporating trade in services to the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) but a lack of data could slow things down, a senior Economist said.
“Non-Tariff Barriers (NTBs) and bureaucratic procedures are real impediments to the implementation of SAFTA in true perspective therefore the Governments of the respective countries of the region need to enter into policy implementation phase instead of policy formulation”.
For the first time in 60 years, 30 trucks rolled across the Line of Control in Kashmir on Tuesday, carrying mostly fruit and vegetables. It is a small beginning but a very significant one. More trucks will run regularly on routes between Srinagar and Muzafarrabad and between Poonch and Rawalakote.
Opposition from World Bank keeps Bangladesh away from signing bilateral Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with SAARC member countries, a top official of the Commerce Ministry said yesterday.
The Union Cabinet on Friday paved the way for the formal entry of Afghanistan into the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA).
The decision announced by President Asif Zardari and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the UN this week to start cross-border trade in October between Pakistan and India could be seen in future years as the key that unlocks South Asia’s growth, as it may begin to accelerate a full normalisation of relations through trade. In the process, an improved bilateral relationship could have tangible spill-over effects on the region.
Tea used to be Kenya’s major cash crop earner but ever since the world’s largest consumer of tea, Pakistan, entered into a free trade agreement with seven of its Asian neighbours, the local tea industry has been haemorrhaging.