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Bilateral agreements easy to negotiate’

Daily Times, Pakistan

Bilateral agreements easy to negotiate’

Staff Report

20 March 2013

KARACHI: Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs) could be successful if bilateral agreements between the member countries complement them.

Tariq Sayeed vice President of the Confederation of Asia Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI) on ‘Impact of Bilateral Agreements on Regional Trade and Investments’ during 27th CACCI conference in Cebu, Philippines said the present level of trade in these regions was based on bilateral mechanism instead of regional protocols.

He particularly referred South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and Economic Cooperation Organisation Trade Agreement (ECOTA) and pointed out the low level of intra-regional trade in these blocs was only 5 percent and 8 percent respectively, which was due mainly to the fact RTAs were not being implemented in letter and spirit.

The bilateral are more successful because they are easy to negotiate and implement, however, if signed under the regional framework, they can help foster regional trade, he said.

In 2009, 25 new RTAs were notified, bringing the total number of sub-regional, trilateral and multilateral RTAs into force to nearly 300 across the globe.

He pointed out intra-CACCI trade was witnessing steady growth and hoped member countries could play a vital role to increase the size of trade through promoting intra-CACCI investment, which could have multiplier effect of trade.