South Asia Free Trade Agreement


South Asia Free Trade Agreement

The Agreement on the South Asian Free Trade Area is an agreement reached at the 12th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) summit at Islamabad, capital of Pakistan on 6 January 2004. It creates a framework for the creation of a free trade zone covering 1.4 billion people in India, Pakistan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and the Maldives.The seven foreign ministers of the region signed a framework agreement on SAFTA with zero customs duty on the trade of practically all products in the region by end 2016. The SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA), with concessional duty on sub-continent trade, went into force on 7 December 1995. The new agreement i.e. SAFTA, came into being on 1 January 2006 and will be operational following the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments. SAFTA requires the developing countries in South Asia, that is, India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, to bring their duties down to 20 percent in the first phase of the two year period ending in 2007. In the final five year phase ending 2012, the 20 percent duty will be reduced to zero in a series of annual cuts. The least developed nations in South Asia consisting of Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Maldives have an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero. Pakistan has signed but not ratified the treaty, though there is hope in India that it will sometime in 2008. [cite web | author=The Hindu editors | date=March 3, 2008 | url=http://www.bilaterals.org/article.php3?id_article=11387 | title=India looks to new Govt. in Pak to implement SAFTA | work=The Hindu | accessmonthday=March 4 | accessyear=2008]

See also

* Free Trade
* Trade barrier
* North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA)
* List of international trade topics
* Anti-globalization
* Agricultural subsidies
* South Asian Economic Union

References

External links

* [http://digitalmedia.worldbank.org/sar/trade/ World Bank, Data and Analysis on Trade and Regional Integration in South Asia]
* [http://www.saarc-sec.org/main.php South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation]
* [http://www.saarc-sec.org/main.php?t=2.1.6 South Asian Free Trade Area]
* [http://www.saarc-sec.org/main.php?t=2.1.5 SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement]
* [http://www.towardsunity.org/downloads/Agreement%20on%20South%20Asian%20South%20Trade%20Area%20(SAFTA).pdf Towards Unity: SAFTA Treaty]


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