>Saarc meet ends with vow to implement Safta

>SOUTH Asian leaders pledged to implement the South Asian Free Trade Area (Safta) by removing trade barriers and giving special consideration to the bloc’s least developed countries (LDCs), at the closing session of the 15th Saarc Summit in Colombo yesterday. (Full report)
The 41-point Colombo Declaration adopted at the concluding session at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall focused on collective regional efforts in core areas: food, energy security, trade, combating terrorism and climate change.
It also embraced connectivity, partnership for growth for the peoples of the region, environment, water resources, poverty alleviation, SDF, transport, ICT development and Saarc social charter.
In the communiqué, the Saarc leaders recognised the need to continue to address the major barriers hindering effective trade liberalisation in the region, which include sensitive lists of items and non-trade barriers (NTBs).
They underscored the need for implementing the decision by the Safta Ministerial Council (SMC) to revise the sensitive lists at the earliest but agreed to give special consideration to the Saarc LDCs when adjusting them.
They directed the Safta experts committee to expeditiously resolve the issues concerning non-tariff and para-tariff measures to facilitate and enhance trade under the mooted free-trade regime.
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Food, fuel feature high on Saarc agenda
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