Centre for Policy Research Workshop on ‘Towards Free Trade in South Asia’ [March 10, New Delhi]

Centre for Policy Research is organising a 1 Day Workshop on Towards Free Trade in South Asia: Studies on Non-Tariff Barriers in Bilateral Trade on March 10, 2015.

Background

Since the 1990s South Asia has witnessed gradual trade liberalisation both with countries outside the SAARC region as well as within the region. While specific trade barriers have been lowered over the years, non-tariff barriers are on the rise.

This prevents seamless and free trade from taking place among countries in the SAARC region. This in turn affects the growth prospects of the region and its individual countries.

It is now widely recognised that non-tariff barriers (NTBs) should be effectively removed for South Asia to become more integrated by trade and commerce. However, the policy tools that are currently available under the framework of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement are often found to be insufficient to tackle the large variety of trade-distorting NTBs at the regional level.

In April 2013, The Asia Foundation convened a group of ten partners from Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka for a three-day workshop to examine the constraints on trade within South Asia and develop a joint three-year program plan under the Challenge Fund.

Through this proposed fund, the Foundation challenged these groups to develop and implement, individually or jointly, initiatives that demonstrate concrete initial results in reducing or eliminating NTBs or para-tariffs in areas where they have been working.

Now, The Asia Foundation and the Centre for Policy Research are organising a dissemination workshop to highlight key non-tariff barriers in trade between countries of the SAARC region.

The workshop aims to bring together policy think tanks, academics, and the government to review and discuss solutions to the non-tariff barriers that are affecting free trade in the SAARC region.

Please join as at the Taj Mansingh in New Delhi on 10 March 2015

Schedule

9:30 Registration

10:00 Introduction to the Challenge Fund by Dr. Rajiv Kumar, Senior Fellow, Centre for Policy Research

10:15 Presentation on NTBs in India-Sri Lanka FTA (ISEC, Bangalore)

10:35 Presentation on NTBs in India-Pakistan Trade in Textiles & Agriculture (CRRID, Chandigarh)

10:55 Experience sharing from SAWTEE, Nepal

11:15 Remarks by Mr. Ajith D. Perera, Secretary General, FCCISL, Sri Lanka

11:30 Remarks by Somi Hazari, Shoshova Groups

11:45 Remarks by Mr. Sumedha Ponnamperuma, Minister Counsellor, Trade and Commerce, Government of Sri Lanka

12:15 Special Remarks by Mr. Arvind Mehta, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, GoI

12:45 Remarks from the Floor

1:15 Closing Remarks by The Asia Foundation

1:30 Lunch

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