‘India for removing trade barriers among SAFTA countries’

SME Times News Bureau: India has continuously been urging SAFTA member countries to further liberalise their trade and investment policies, said Minister of State for Commerce & Industry Jyotiraditya M. Scindia in written reply to a question in Rajya Sabha Wednesday.

“Other SAFTA member countries are being urged at both the bilateral and multi-lateral levels, to progressively liberalise their trade and investment policies, so that overall trade and commerce is strengthened amongst all SAFTA members,” said Scindia.

The South Asian Free Trade Area or SAFTA is a pact signed in 6 January 2004 with the objective to gradually eliminate most tariffs and other trade barriers on products and services passing between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and Sri Lanka.

Main items of exports under South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement (SAFTA) are Cotton Yarns, Pharmaceuticals, Leather, Chemicals, Footwear Sole, Polished Granite Slabs, Green Marbles, Raw Jute, Steel Billets, Non-Alloy Steel, Groundnut and Dry Coconut.

Main items of imports under SAFTA are Metalifers Ores & Metal Scrap, Fruits and Nuts excluding Cashew Nuts, Non-Ferrous Metals, Spices, Cotton Yarn and Fabrics, Readymade Garments(woven & knit), Cement, Transport Equipments and Petroleum, Crude& Products.

In his reply, Scindia added that India has reduced its Sensitive List for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) from 480 items to 25 items and granted zero basic customs duty access on all the items removed vide a notification dated November 9, 2011.

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