The South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was agreed to among the seven South Asia countries that form the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC): Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
SAFTA came into effect on 1 January 2006, with the aim of reducing tarrifs for intraregional trade among the seven SAARC members. Pakistan and India are to complete implementation by 2012, Sri Lanka by 2013 and Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Nepal by 2015.
SAFTA replaces the earlier South Asia Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA) and may eventually lead to a full-fledged South Asia Economic Union.
The road to implementation, however, is plagued by the overarching conflict between India and Pakistan.
last update: May 2012
The ministry of commerce on Friday said that India has violated article 7 of SAFTA (Trade Liberalization Programme), therefore, Pakistan has formally suspended imports and exports with India in last year.
Delegation of FICCI Textiles Committee met Smriti Zubin Irani, Minister for Textiles and Women and Child Development recently and impressed upon her to launch a special mission for synthetic fibre and textiles value chain to make Indian industry competitive in the global trade which is predominantly done in the man-made fibre (MMF)-based items.
Local steel manufacturers have demanded protection of locally made several types of finished steel products from uneven competition with low-cost commercial imports under SAFTA benefit.
Eight finance ministers from South Asia pushed for the fast-track formation of the South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) to ensure larger investment inflows, higher trade volumes and energy generation.
The commerce ministers will discuss on enhancing intra-SAARC trade flows under SAFTA and vision for further trade liberalisation by reducing non-tariff and para-tariff barriers.
Dhaka has decided to protest the New Delhi’s action relating to allegation of dumping jute goods and hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) by Bangladesh, officials have said.
Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman made a strong pitch for greater integration of the South Asian region, even as she underscored the need for speedy implementation of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (Safta) agreement.
Experts have termed India’s unofficial trade blockade on Nepal as a breach of international conventions and multilateral agreements that both Nepal and India have signed.
Increasing regional integration through enhanced role of private sector and cooperation in areas like trade, energy security and connectivity will help South Asian nations boost economic growth, says a report.
Diplomacy in South Asia is given over to give-no-quarter bureaucrats, who cleave to a nationalism that continues to trump economics.
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) comprises the seven South Asian countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka