SAARC: A journey from SAFTA to South Asian Economic Union

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SAARC: A journey from SAFTA to South Asian Economic Union

ISLAMABAD: (APP) Minister for Finance Muhammad Ishaq Dar on Friday said that several mechanisms had been established to deepen the economic integration of the SAARC region.

"We are now moving from South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) to South Asian Economic Union," he said while addressing a press conference at the conclusion of 8th Meeting of the Finance Ministers of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) here.

Dar, who is the current Chairperson of 8th SAARC meeting, was flanked by Secretary General of SAARC Arjun Bahadur Thapa and Secretary Finance Dr Waqar Masood Khan.

The meeting was preceded by the Eighth Meeting of the SAARC Finance Secretaries on Thursday, attended by all member states.

Ishaq Dar said that since the last meeting of the SAARC Finance Ministers in Kathmandu in 2015, significant headway has been made in regional collaboration in the areas related to economic and financial cooperation among the Member States.

He said that there was, however, a need to intensify the efforts on reduction/removal of non-tariff and para tariff barriers, trade facilitation measures, investment cooperation, and reduction of products in sensitive lists.

The meeting also delibrated on SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services, improvement in connectivity, energy

cooperation, harmonization and simplification of customs procedures and Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment for betterment of the peoples of the region.