Anand Sharma Pushes for Lowering Tariff of Sensitive items in SAFTA
India Earmarks US$100 Million Each for Neighboring Countries for Basic Infrastructure Projects

The Minister of Commerce & Industry, Government of India Mr. Anand Sharma Mr. Anand Sharma urged the member states of SAARC to bring down all the protectionist trade barriers to achieve regional economies of scale at a much greater pace. While emphasizing that the serious attempts being made to reduce the sensitive list under the trade liberalization program of SAFTA, should be encouraged, the Indian minister also said the focus should also be to bring down the tariff levels for those items which still remain within the sensitive list. The Minister was speaking at the Fifth Meeting of the SAFTA Ministerial Council in Male’ today.

Emphasizing that India’s engagement with its neighborhood has always been imbued with a spirit of development partnership, Mr. Anand Sharma also announced during his speech that India has earmarked US$100 million each for its neighboring countries to undertake developmental work in basic infrastructure projects.

Speaking at the Ministerial attended by Trade & Commerce ministers of Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka, Mr. Anand Sharma thanked the Maldives Government for the gracious hospitality and expressed his happiness that all member countries have ratified the Accession to Agreement on SAFTA signed during the Colombo Summit in 2008.

On the sidelines of the SAFTA ministerial meeting, Mr. Anand Sharma also had detailed bilateral meetings with the Minister of Economic Development & Trade of Maldives Mr. Mahmood Razee, the Minister of Trade and Industries of Afghanistan Dr. Anwar-Ul-Haq Ahady, the Minister of Commerce of Bangladesh Mr. Muhammad Faruk Khan, the Minister of Economic Affairs of Bhutan Mr. Lyonpo Khandu Wangchuk and the Minister of Industry & Commerce of Sri Lanka Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen.

Earlier yesterday, after the call on the President Mr. Mohamed Nasheed, the Minister also met the Special Envoy of the Maldivian President and the Foreign Minister for informal discussions on bilateral economic cooperation.

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