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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

Pakistan regrets Indian review of trade concessions
Pakistan regrets an Indian decision to review tariff concessions extended to Pakistan under a regional trade agreement but will not retaliate, a senior Pakistani government official said on Tuesday.
No MFN; Pak expands positive list for India
India on Thursday termed Pakistan’s move to include an additional 302 items in its positive list for trade with India as a ploy to continue to deny the MFN status for India. New Delhi sees this as a clear violation of the Safta pact and would take up the issue in the Safta meet next month.
Greater integration in need
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.
Services under SAFTA: How to make it work for South Asia?
The service sector has emerged as one of the major contributors in the global Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and trade. On an average, while services account for more than 70% of GDP in developed countries and 50% in developing countries, their share in global exports have grown from 15% to nearly 25% over the last two decades. In the case of South Asia too, the share of services in GDP and trade has increased.
Safta & Pak: LDCs may bolster India’s stand
India is likely to get the support of least developed country (LDC) members of the Safta in its fight against Pakistan’s refusal to implement the agreement in its letter and spirit.
Indo-Pak relations obstacle for SAFTA: FBCCI
Bilateral relations between India and Pakistan are posing "threat" to SAFTA, the apex business chamber of Bangladesh said on Thursday.
Islamabad not opposed to Kabul’s SAFTA membership
Pakistan on Wednesday rejected the notion as baseless that it was opposed to Afghanistan’s entry into the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
Saarc defers free trade dispute
South Asian foreign ministers have agreed to defer a dispute between India and Pakistan over the implementation of a regional free trade agreement.
India to raise SAFTA issues in Dhaka
India, which has called for an emergency meeting of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Ministerial Council, is expected to raise the issue of Pakistan backing away from its commitment under the multilateral agreement.
Driving benefit from SAFTA
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).


  • 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