South Asia Industry for removing hurdles in land route trade

Written by ASHOK B SHARMA | New Delhi, Jan 13 | Updated: Jan 15 2008, 01:55am hrs
Industry body of South Asia has called for removing the bottlenecks in land route trade.

The 42 nd meeting of the executive Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry held here in Delhi on Sunday decided that the apex industry bodies in respective countries of the region would lobby with their governments to removes the bottlenecks in the land route trade.

The newly-elected president of the Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), Tariq Sayeed told FE, Most of the trade in the region is through land route expect for that with Sri Lanka and Maldives. It is less expensive and quicker. But we are concerned over unnecessary delays at the border points.

Sayeed is the past president of the Federation of Pakistan Chamber of Commerce and Industry. He said that there were several bottlenecks, particularly in India-Pakistan land route trade like delay in custom clearance, lack of adequate parking facility and container terminals for storage.

The Union minister of state for commerce Jairam Ramesh has assured the SCCI that he would work towards removing the bottlenecks in land route trade from the Indian side. He said that India would have a common goods and services tax for the entire country by 2025. The process would initially begin with central and state GSTs by 2010.

Also, he said that after allowing FDIs from Bangladesh on a case-to-case basis, India must open doors for foreign direct investments from Pakistan as well. It could be subject to FIPB approval on a case-to-case basis, which would take care of the security concerns, he added.

SAARC consists of eight South Asian countries namely, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) came into being from January 1, 2006. Afghanistan became a member of SAARC after the Dhaka ministerial. The SCCI on Saturday included the Afghanistan Cahamber of Commerce and Industry as its new member.