South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation
By observing the overall mood at the 14th SAARC summit that was held in New Delhi in April of 2007, one might sense that a change in the perception about SAARC may be occurring.
Indian Foreign Secretary Shivshankar Menon yesterday urged India’s smaller neighbours to overcome political issues to become stakeholders in the India-led regional economic growth by dismantling trade and road and water transport barriers.
Business houses in South Asian region are seeking specific timeframe to remove bottlenecks that hinder trade and investment in the SAARC region. It is sad to note that whatever developments take place in the business and political forums; those are not implemented at the operation level.
It remains unclear to me what the advantages of being part of the Saarc grouping are over entering into bilateral relations with each individual Saarc country instead. I have always like the concept of Bimstec instead.
Bangladesh’s business leaders are rather dismayed at India’s recent duty-free market access offer, as they have expressed the view that mere duty-free access could not ensure free flow of goods into Indian market unless non-tariff and para-tariff barriers are removed.
Business leaders Sunday expressed their dismay that the SAARC had failed to deliver "much" in the fields of economy and politics in the South Asian region, although it could attract the attention of the international community.
The SAARC countries are now striving to set a uniform product standard for the group after years of complaints by the weaker ones among them about non-acceptance of their national certifications of product quality by their stronger counterparts. It has persistently posed as a difficult non-trade barrier that has obstructed bilateral trade.
Trade experts say countries in the South Asian region can form a major textile and apparel hub - provided they can work together. Right now, mutual mistrust and trade barriers against each other, are stopping SAARC countries from cashing in on a waiting opportunity.
The Safta on Wednesday received a big boost with Pakistan agreeing to the views of Saarc leaders that the pact liberalising regional trade be implemented in “letter and spirit”.
The European Commission (EC) has offered to share expertise and experience in all areas of interest to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as well as in the implementation of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta).
India is ready to consider some “unilateral” steps to address some concerns of Pakistan to see operationalisation of Safta.
Import Policy Regulations are provided in the import regimes of all SAARC countries and Pakistan had only indicated this requirement in its notification to make it transparent.
In what is being described as a success for India and a "failure and punishment for Pakistan" on the economic diplomacy front, India has formed a regional trading bloc excluding Islamabad, and including all the SAFTA members, besides Thailand.
The center of gravity of the world economy was shifting to South Asia but opportunities of this regional dynamism could only be harnessed if the region integrated.
South Asian foreign ministers have agreed to defer a dispute between India and Pakistan over the implementation of a regional free trade agreement.
The (SAFTA) South Asian Free Trade Agreement has been implemented from July 1, 2006, which is operating under the framework of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), has come into force in the member countries in South Asia. Of the seven countries of SAARC India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are at the phase of developing countries and the remaining four in the category of least developed countries.
Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said in Karachi on Sunday that no progress had been made so far with the Indian government on the resolution of Siachen, let alone Kashmir and other vital issues, but he hoped that “outstanding issues will be resolved soon if the dialogue between the two neighbours continues”.
The SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry (SCCI) organized a seminar on SAFTA, Expanding Business Opportunities in Karachi on the occasion of Seventh SAARC trade fair.
The joke in South Block nowadays is that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is ever so keen to visit Pakistan because he finds it easier to deal with General Pervez Musharraf than to deal with his Cabinet colleagues. If Mr Arjun Singh ambushed him and sent the entire country into a caste driven frenzy, one of his other Ministerial colleagues leaked the contents of a letter to the Prime Minister from Congress president Sonia Gandhi expressing concern over the free trade agreement that India had signed with its ASEAN partners.