Seminar on a Free Trade Area in South Asia

A Seminar on A Free Trade Area in South Asia was organized in RIS on August 22, 2003 in the RIS. At this Seminar, Professor I.N. Mukherji, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, presented the main findings of a study conducted by him at RIS on the subject. Professor Muchkund Dubey, Chairman, CSD chaired the seminar which had the participation of cross section of audience from business, industry, research institutions and government departments.

The RIS study has attempted to examine the impact of SAPTA on bilateral preferential trade flows on conceded products both from the point of view of India’s imports as well as exports since SAPTA negotiations were implemented by the end of 1995.

The issues, that Dr. I.N. Mukherji focused on in his presentation, included customs notifications issued by SAARC member states, number of products on which tariff concessions have been extended/agreed by SAARC member states in the three rounds of trade negotiations under SAPTA, India’s imports of concessions offered to contracting states of SAPTA during 1996-2000. He also took up for discussion India’s preferential imports of products offered concessions to contracting states under SAPTA Rounds I-III, section and chapter-wise percentage distribution of India’s imports from Bangladesh, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Maldives; India’s imports from Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka of top ten products offered concessions under SAPTA I-III; India’s exports of products offered concessions by other contracting states under SAPTA, India’s preferential exports of top ten products to Bangladesh, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka; top 15 products imported by India from other contracting states; India’s imports of top ten chapters of harmonized system from the contracting states; top 10 products exported by India to other contracting states; India’s exports in terms of top ten chapters of the harmonized system to the contracting states. In his presentation he also talked about the potential trade between Bangladesh (market) and India (supplier) and potential trade between India (market) and Bangladesh (supplier).