SAARC renews call for more rapid development in region
ISLAMABAD: Representatives from the member states of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) highlighting the importance of improving trade among the members of the organization emphasized the need to take more effective steps to resolve the issues curbing the trade in the region.
Addressing various sessions of the 10th South Asia Economic Summit held in Kathmandu this week, the representatives of the SAARC member states renewed the call for more rapid development and physical infrastructure and removal of the non-tariff barrier to expedite the regional integration for promotion of trade in the region.
The share of the trade among the SAARC countries is just 7 percent of the total trade in South Asia which was 5.6 percent in 2006.
The main issue of regional integration among the members of the SAARC remained the important subject which was discussed during the conference which continued for four days.
The low intra-regional trade in South Asia, due to many factors, including dispute on Kashmir and tension between Pakistan and India, complex relations between many members of the SAARC and overall law and order situation in the region, remained focus of intention for the economic experts and representatives of SAARC who attended this important conference.
The region has been talking about regional integration, especially in trade and economic activities, since the establishment of the South Asian Association for Regional.
Nepalese Finance Minister Gyanendra Bahadur Karki who formally inaugurated the four-day summit in Kathmandu on the theme of “Deepening Economic Integration for Inclusive and Sustainable Development in South Asia” said that poor connectivity and non-tariff barriers needed to be addressed to cut the trade cost.
Addressing the summit, representatives of various countries emphasized the need to take measures including improvement in poor infrastructure, reduce high cost of transportation and reduce ambiguous customs procedures, which are the main problems impeding trade in the region.
They were of the view that addressing the non-tariff barriers and expanding transport and transit connectivity the regional trade cost could be reduced, which would ultimately enhance the intra-regional trade.