SAARC Finance Ministers Conference : Agenda Items

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ISLAMABAD: (APP) The 8th South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers' Conference will begin here on Thursday.

Finance secretaries of the SAARC member countries will meet on August 25 followed by the ministerial conference on August 26.

Prime Minister Muhammad Nawaz Sharif is scheduled to address the inaugural session of the ministerial conference on Friday.

All the SAARC member states, including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka have accepted the invitation from Pakistan and confirmed their participation in the conference

The conference will review the updated implementation status of different activities being carried out in the region under the SAARC mechanism, including customs cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, promotion and protection of investment, cooperation in the banking sector, and trade liberalization , etc. It will recommend measures to enhance regional cooperation in order to move fast towards South Asian Economic Union .

The outcome of the conference will complement the agenda of the upcoming 9th SAARC Summit to be hosted by Pakistan on November 9-10, 2016, according to Finance Ministry sources.

"South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and SAARC financial and banking system and investment opportunities in the region will be discussed by the conference for the socio-economic prosperity in the region, besides ways and means for the uplift of the people of the member states," the sources said.

They said it would also discuss and devise a mechanism for regional trade promotion.

The sources said after the conclusion of the conference, the finance ministers would also attend the SAARC Development Fund (SDF) Council meeting to make the Fund's operations more effective for the development of the region.

It may be added that the SDC was established in 2010 with total capital of $1.5 billion and paid-up capital of about $300 million.

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