Wednesday, February 22, 2012

SAARC Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement to give boost to intra-regional trade

A SAARC Investment Promotion and Protection Agreement that is pending since 2007 is going to be finalised in the 18th SAARC summit that is being held in Nepal next year.
The deal is expected to make the region attractive investment destination.
"During the fifth meeting of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) finance ministers held in Dhaka on January 30, the finance ministers have agreed to push forward the agreement for the finalisation in the next summit in 2013," according to finance secretary Krishna Hari Baskota.
The finance ministers’ meet aimed at further expanding regional cooperation in economic and financial sectors discussed on investment promotion and protection guidelines,” he said, adding that Finance Minister Barsha Man Pun gave a green signal on the guideline, though one of the participant had some reservation on the guidelines.
The guideline envisions opening of intra regional investments with equal treatment of the investments in any of the SAARC countries by any other regional block member country like domestic without restriction and quota and marketing, he said, adding that products of such investments will not be listed under the sensitive list to promote cross border trade and investment.
The investment promotion and protection in the regional block is expected to give boost to the intra regional trade envisaged in the South Asian Free Trade Area Agreement's (SAFTA) that came into force some six years ago.
Nepal that is observing Investment Year 2012-13 might benefit from the agreement as it will help open regional market and attract investment in the country, he added.
Greater free trade and investment among South Asian countries could also help SAARC become opportunity to catalyse the potential within the region.
The region in the recent years — after the global recession — has been exploring ways to deepen trade and investment linkages as the domestic market can absorb global shock.
The region could emerge as a locomotive for the world economy, if it could ensure an environment for rapid growth building on the member countries’ comparative advantages to make the region a magnet for greater trade, investment and financial flows, according to participants in the Dhaka meet.
India has called for fast-tracking a regional investment treaty and creation of regional production chains to deepen economic linkages in the SAARC region. At the 17th SAARC summit in the Maldives held in November last year, India had announced elimination of India's sensitive list for Least Developed Countries (LDCs) including Nepal in the SAARC region that could give a boost to exports from Nepal.


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