labels: economy - general, trade
India to raise SAFTA at October Saarc ministerialnews
28 August 2006

Mumbai: India will take up the issue of Pakistan limiting access to trade for India under the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA) at the Saarc ministerial council meeting in October. The government, however, made it clear that tariff concessions offered to Islamabad would continue.

"SAARC ministerial council could be held in October. We would be raising the issue of Pakistan not giving us market access under SAFTA," Jairam Ramesh, minister of state for commerce, said on the sidelines of a conference in New Delhi.

While India remained committed to the agreement to offer tariff concessions and make unilateral efforts to reduce non-tariff barriers on products of export interest of to Saarc member countries, Pakistan''s decision to limit the number of items on the positive list for trade with India violates the spirit of the free trade pact, he said.

While most Saarc countries trade under liberalised tariff with each other in all items except those mentioned in their respective negative list since SAFTA came into effect on July 1, this year, Pakistan has decided to import only a limited number of products from India under its positive list.

India had raised the issue at SAARC forums, but without much success as Pakistan remained adamant on its stand. Commerce Ministry officials also said it was unlikely that Pakistan would allow import of more Indian goods.

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India to raise SAFTA at October Saarc ministerial