India favours removal of non-tariff barriers in South Asia


New Delhi : Observing that globalisation was not sustainable without partnership from SAARC members, India on Tuesday favoured removal of non-tariff barriers and said it was improving business environment to attract investments from South Asian countries.

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“I believe that India’s globalisation is simply not sustainable without the partnership of the SAARC members. If so, it would be incomplete,” Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh said here.

Referring to the recently operationalised South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA), he said the processes put in place in the region after several years have begun to yield good results.

“Removal of Non-Tariff barriers is equally important for improving the SAFTA further,” he said adding India has adopted indigenous ways to address the issue.

“India has kept its commitment to SAFTA meticulously,” he said, pointing out that import duties on more than 4537 items have been removed for the least developed countries in the South Asian region.

The negative list of 744 items comprising largely agricultural and textile items is also being reviewed to further prune it for the least developed countries of SAARC, Ramesh said at a seminar on ‘SAARC: Towards Greater Connectivity’.

Stressing on the importance of border trade, Ramesh said India has identified 13 centres, one along the border with Pakistan, seven along the Bangladesh border, four along the Nepal border and one along the Myanmar border where it has made investments to upgrade infrastructure.