Building Bridges through Economic Co-operation, discussed at the SAARC Summit

Shri Anand Sharma, the Union Minister of Commerce, Industry & Textiles addressed the plenary session of the SAARC Business Summit centered around the theme of Building Bridges through Economic Co-operation, here today. Speaking on the occasion Shri Sharma said, Today™s world is integrated & interdependent. Partnerships are the defining theme of our times. Asia, today, is at the cusp of redefining it™s, this decade will see 3 of the top 5 global economies coming from Asia, contributing to nearly a quarter of global GDP. After a gap of 12 years, India has assumed the Presidency of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry. The Minister congratulated Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney who has taken over as President of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Replying to the query during the event – on the credit to exporters/investor; the Commerce Minister said, I am sure the Government will take a considered view. Industry needs investment. Cost of credit needs to be brought down. On the giving of MFN status by Pakistan to India Minister said everything is on track and it will be a reality in due course of time.

Addressing the gathering Shri Sharma observed that, SAARC has completed 26 years in December last year and we acknowledge that South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) has made significant progress over the years, much more remains to be done. SAFTA had a vision of creating a common market where tariff and non-tariff barriers will be revised and we had expected that the peak tariff rates should be no more than 5% for most of the tradable commodities between member countries of SAARC. In the Male Summit, India has reduced its Sensitive List for the Least Developed Countries of SAARC from 480 to 25 items and zero custom duty access for the SAARC LDCs. This regime now covers 99.7% of our total tariff lines and all items of export interest to LDCs are covered under this regime, he reflected.

The Commerce Minister emphasized that, we also need to develop new and imaginative credit mechanisms which expressly focus on supporting regional business models specially incentives could be provided which incentivize entrepreneurs for developing commercially-viable regional projects. Together we must work to improve our customs infrastructure and expedite the processing at the border posts. India is already strengthening the integrated check posts and land customs stations along all its borders providing modern clearing facilities to ensure easier movement of goods.

Mr. Ranjan Mathai, Foreign Secretary of India while addressing the gathering said that, Make SAARC region a magnet of regional cooperation, business & growth. Historical economic integration reinforced by the geographical commonality is a facilitating factor. Shri Mathai expressed the thrust points to take the economic and political interaction. Reduction of non- tariff barriers, building a regional chain of production built on factor advantage, institutional linkages with the SAARC and changes in the policy measures to facilitate enabling environment to the interest of each other.

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2 responses to “Building Bridges through Economic Co-operation, discussed at the SAARC Summit”

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