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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
Photo: Serg!o/Wikipedia/CC BY-SA 3.0

Pak decision on SAFTA will make agreement meaningless: India
Unhappy over Pakistan’s decision to limit trade with it to a few items under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), India on Tuesday said such a move would make the agreement meaningless and sought an "urgent" meeting of the SAARC Commerce Ministers to discuss the issue, an Indian newspaper reported.
Making SAFTA effective
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.
Seminar held on SAFTA
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.
Trade in services in SAARC to be discussed in Oct
The Committee of Experts (COE) of the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) will examine the proposal to include trade in services under the SAFTA agreement in October this year.
Aziz links free trade to Kashmir
Pakistani Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz said on Monday that free trade with India was not possible without resolving political disputes.
South Asia eyes free trade zone by 2016
South Asian nations want to ease tariffs gradually with the aim of establishing a free trade zone in about a decade, experts at a trade meeting said on Tuesday.
Pakistan refuses to give MFN status to India even after Safta ratification
Pakistan has decided not to give most favoured nation (MFN) status to India, even under the recently ratified South Asia free trade agreement (Safta), and has indicated that it will continue to trade with the country on the basis of a positive list.
Pakistan uncertain on SAFTA
Pakistan remains unsure of India’s role in the South Asian Free Trade Agreement as bilateral economic cooperation talks begin Monday.
APTMA welcomes SAFTA ratification
The chairman of the All Pakistan Textile Mills Association (APTMA), Punjab zone, Shafqat Elahi, has welcomed the ratification of SAFTA by the cabinet.
Meeting on SAFTA implementation on 20th
The first meeting of the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Council of Ministers (SMC) will review and finalize the SAFTA implementation arrangements on March 20 at Dhaka.


  • SAARC Secretariat
    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