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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

Nepal to reduce sensitive list under SAFTA
Nepal is proposing removal of about 260 items from existing sensitive list of goods for imports at the upcoming meeting of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) scheduled to be held in the last week of March in Kathmandu.
India urges Saarc states to ratify services trade deal
India on Tuesday urged all member-states to ratify the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) Agreement on Trade in Services, terming it a "big step forward" for increasing trade within the region.
Negative list of SAFTA comprises 53pc of total regional trade India’s tariff, non-tariff barriers restrict trade in South Asia
The negative list of South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) comprises 53 per cent of the total trade between the regional countries, therefore, fully implementation on the agreement would not even yield the desired results, a senior official said on Tuesday.
Pakistan needs to meet SAFTA provisions: Indian envoy
Pakistan does not keep in line with the provisions of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) concerning imports from India, said Sharat Sabharwal, High Commissioner of India during his visit to the Karachi Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI) on Wednesday.
Services to be liberalised
If entering into trade agreements is opening up the floodgates to bigger countries, then some in Sri Lanka do not want the flood-gates opened to India, but the government has already done so, for seven other countries besides India. CEPA is carved in stone, some claim, but it is far from reality
South Asia Agreement on Trade: 7 countries to ehance trade in services
South Asia Agreement on Trade in Services among seven South Asian countries including Pakistan and India is expected to end by the end of 2010, official sources informed Daily Times on Monday.
India to play a proactive role in SAARC
Economic integration of all the eight South Asian countries posses a challenge to the political leaders of the region. Though South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) was operationalised from July 2006 the intra regional trade increased at a snail space from 3.2% in 1980s to only 5.5% in 2008, which is far below when compared with 58% in NAFTA, 54% in European Union, 25% in ASEAN and 22% in COMESA.
Saarc to negotiate on liberalisation of services market
Services market within the Saarc (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) region could be liberalized. Trade ministers from Saarc countries have agreed to negotiate on liberalising the services market within the region.
SAARC business leaders moot in November
Third SAARC Business Leaders Conclave (SBLC) scheduled for November 22-23,in Colombo, with the theme of ‘Regional Cooperation: a catalyst for socio-economic growth in South Asia’ will aim to provide the right platform for a broader and intense engagement between member governments and South Asian Business community.
Free up capital, labour for regional good: BB boss tells Mumbai meet
Bangladesh Bank governor Atiur Rahman called for freer movements of capital and labour among the first steps for greater financial integration of South Asian nations, speaking at a global banking conference in India on Wednesday.


  • 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