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Govt may cut duties for Afghanistan’s Safta entry

Business Standard, India

Govt may cut duties for Afghanistan’s Safta entry

BS Reporter / New Delhi

21 November 2007

As Afghanistan is likely to be inducted as the eight member of the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) by February 2008, minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh today said India will bring down duties on 4,356 tariff lines (products) to zero for facilitating trade with Afghanistan.

"This would mark a significant step forward for the Afghan economy and help boost its export to India", Ramesh said at an seminar organised by Ficci today.

India already has already signed an preferential trade agreement with Afghanistan as per which there has to be a minimum 50% value addition for export within the South Asian region. "Once Afghanistan becomes a Safta member, this would come down to 30%." added Ramesh.

Ramesh also said that India would undertake a review of the 744 items in sensitive list of for export, which are largely farm and textile. "We are currently working on a review of the negative list particularly with regard to the least developed countries in the South Asian region - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Afghanistan".