India to reduce items in negative list to enhance trade in goods in South Asia


New Delhi : India will soon reduce the number of items in the negative list to expand trade in goods with regard to Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and the Maldives.

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New Delhi is planning to reduce the number of items to around 500 from the present 744 in the negative list. “India has unilaterally decided to reduce the negative list and notify the revised negative list within the next few months,” Indias Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath told reporters here Monday.

The Minister said reviewing of the negative list and enlarging the scope for further trade cooperation would help enhance trade within South Asia. India has already reduced imports duty to zero on all items other than those in the negative list for the Least Developed Countries with effect from January 1, 2008.

A regional study on trade in services was complete, which would provide an opportunity for an effective services agreements among member countries of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).

SAARC comprises India, Pakistan, Afghanistan, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and Maldives. Myanmar could join at the 15th SAARC summit to be held in the Sri Lankan city of Kandy in July this year.

Iran is likely to take part at the summit as an observer nation. The United States, European Union, China, Japan and South Korea attended the 14th summit as observers in Delhi in April last year.