South Asia Free Trade Agreement
Unless there is enough political will to close potential loopholes disguised as “flexibility” and pursue reforms deeper than those ever before attempted, RCEP may be seen as serving the geopolitical interests of a few players, to little economic effect.
Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Harvest Tradings Ahmed Jawad has said that to boost the trade with the neighbouring country the government needed to review the Pak-India trade agreement. Talking to INP here on Sunday, Ahmed Jawad said that there was no other option than enhancing trade to normalise the bilateral political and diplomatic relations with India.
The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta) appears to be a ‘disaster’ for Pakistan’s agricultural sector and is backed only by the industrial lobby.
The Most Favoured Nation status to Pakistan could not prove instrumental in increasing agriculture exports to India, observed a report sponsored by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).
There are several safeguarding measures under WTO regime to save industry even after normalisation of trade with India, as delay in this regard will jeopardise the process of liberalisation of trade between the two neighbours.
Bilateral trade between Bangladesh and India rose nearly 20 per cent to more than US$ 4.50 billion in the fiscal year (FY) 2011-12 following reduction of sensitive lists by the relevant authorities in both the countries in late 2011.
Businessmen and traders of Pakistan and India have agreed that infrastructure bottlenecks are hindering the growth in trade relations between the two sides and these should be removed to deepen the ties.
The decision taken by Pakistan and India to scale down tariff to a maximum of 5% and remove all non-tariff barriers (NTBs) by 2020 will lead to regional integration, according to an official of the Geneva-based World Trade Organisation (WTO).
Domestic manufacturers are having nightmares as the tariffs of imported finished goods from South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) member countries would come down to five percent from the next fiscal year, while the duties on raw materials used to produce same products remain much higher, an official said on Saturday.
Indian market has huge potential for Pakistani items, but experts are discussing India’s import impact on domestic economy, ignoring the potential of services sector exports to that country, according to speakers of a seminar on Thursday.
The calls to boycott American goods and services in the wake of the recent resolution at the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (UNCHR) have highlighted the fact that Sri Lanka’s export trade is heavily dependent on a narrow slew of countries.
The government has decided to exclude financial services from the SAARC agreement on trade in services, following strong objection from the Reserve Bank of India, or RBI. The central bank has argued that India has already allowed access to foreign banks under the World Trade Organization agreement.
India and Pakistan will soon begin discussions on a preferential trading arrangement to lower import duties on an array of goods. The talks will be held under ambit of South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) signed eight years ago between member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), a senior Indian official said on Saturday.
The Federal government’s decision to liberalise trade with India and cabinet approval to eliminate negative list by year end are going to open country’s doors to Indian products whereas Pakistan has nothing significant to export India except raw gypsum, salt and dry fruits.
The eight member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation vowed to reduce the size of their respective sensitive lists of non-tradable items and expressed satisfaction over signing of the Saarc Agreement on Trade in Services.
Trade liberalisation with India has partially been linked to signing of four agreements to remove all tariff and non-tariff barriers that hinder Pakistani exports to Indian market.
As Prime Minister Manmohan Singh heads for the Maldives next week to participate in the 17th Saarc summit, it is expected that he will be suggesting some mechanisms to promote a greater level of regional economic integration.
With many of its big ideas still await implementation, the eight-member South Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) countries seem to have gone for a modest agenda this time.
India is particularly displeased with Pakistan, after an early end to a party it was enjoying over Islamabad’s proposed grant of a ‘most favoured nation’ (MFN) status in bilateral trade. All eyes are now focused on Pakistan commerce secretary Zafar Mahmood’s upcoming India visit. This is likely to be followed by a sideline meeting between the prime ministers of the neighbouring countries.
The Cabinet on Wednesday approved a 20 percent reduction (233 tariff lines) in sensitive list for South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) which, according to the Commerce Ministry, will earn goodwill for the country.