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SAARC Chamber call to push SAFTA

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Aug. 30

The executive committee of SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) will meet in the Maldives in November to resolve all outstanding issues within the SAFTA among the member nations, including Islamabad's refusal to grant tariff liberalisation to India under SAFTA.

Disclosing this to Business Line here, the President of SCCI, Mr Dasho Ugen Tsechup Dorji, who was in the Capital recently, said that the organisation had asked all the member nations to explore the issues which were holding the economic agreement from taking off.

He said, "The onus will be on the private sector to lobby respectively with the Governments in their countries. If India and Pakistan have trade issues in certain categories, companies must be able to identify the bottlenecks and give the Government necessary solutions to push further the agenda."

Alternative efforts

Commenting on the alternative efforts being made by SCCI to make SAFTA effective, he said that the Chambers would also be organising a forum in Sri Lanka to discuss customs union and harmonisation of standards. For the developed among the developing countries, the tariffs have to be reduced up to 0-5 per cent besides the sensitive list by 2013 and for the developing countries the time frame is up to 2018.

Mr Dasho further said that while there exists opportunities for the SAARC countries to enter bilateral and various trade agreements with countries outside the region, SAFTA as a regional economic framework will continue to be relevant for better stability and prosperity of the region.

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