|Colombo Declaration of the 15th SAARC Summit - SAFTA and Trade Facilitation|
|Friday, 08 August 2008 00:00|
Page 14 of 22
SAFTA and Trade Facilitation
26. The Heads of State or Government emphasized their commitment to implement SAFTA in letter and in spirit, thereby enabling SAARC to contribute as well to the dynamic process of Asia’s emergence as the power house of the world. Recognizing the need to continue to address the major barriers hindering effective trade liberalization in the region, which include sensitive lists of items and Non-Trade Barriers (NTBs), they directed that the decision to revise the sensitive lists by the SAFTA Ministerial Council (SMC) be implemented early. They also recommended that while revising the Sensitive Lists, special consideration be given to the LDCs. The Leaders directed that SAFTA Committee of Experts (SCoE) to expeditiously resolve the issue of Non Tariff Measures (NTMs) and Para Tariff Measures (PTMs) in order to facilitate and enhance the trade under SAFTA.
27. The Heads of State or Government underlined the need for taking concrete measures to improve trade facilitation in terms of the mutual recognition of standards, the adoption of common tariff nomenclatures, the harmonization of customs procedures. They directed the relevant SAARC bodies to expedite their work in these areas. They also recognized the importance of development of communication system and transport infrastructure and transit facilities specially for the landlocked countries to promote intra-SAARC trade.
28. The Heads of State or Government observed that the SAARC legal instruments on trade liberalization and the measures and initiatives for trade facilitation are increasingly affording significant openings for mutually beneficial trade, investments and economic co-operation within South Asia. These openings are complemented by the uniformly sound levels of national economic growth being attained by the Member States of SAARC. The Leaders accordingly noted the growing and urgent need for enhancing capacity within SAARC dedicated to encouraging national and regional strategies that would further maximize the positive trade, investments and economic cooperation climate in South Asia. In this regard they welcomed the offer of Sri Lanka to prepare a Concept Paper and a Working Paper on the subject and directed that the Paper be discussed at a Session of the Standing Committee specially convened for this purpose, to enable the adoption of appropriate follow-up measures.
29. The Heads of State or Government welcomed the signing of the text of the Agreement on the Establishment of the South Asian Regional Standards Organization. The Heads of State or Government welcomed the signing of the Protocol on Afghanistan for Accession to SAFTA.