Saarc Chamber to work for better connectivity
- Suraj Vaidya takes over as new president of Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry
Mar 15, 2016-
Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) will prioritise better connectivity and establishment of Saarc industrial parks for better investment facilitation.
As he takes charge of the Saarc Chamber as its new president, Suraj Vaidya said the new committee will work for the implementation of the Motor Vehicle Agreement proposed in the 18th Saarc Summit held in Kathmandu in 2014.
“Connectivity is one of the key challenges of the region as free movement of people as well as goods is necessary for economic growth,” said Vaidya at an event on “Presidential Change of Office in Saarc Chamber” here on Monday.
Vaidya officially took over the responsibility of the Saarc Chamber from past president Vikramjit Singh Sahney of India.
Established in 1992, the Saarc Chamber is the apex body of all National Federati-ons of Chambers of Commerce and Industry in the region.
Addressing the programme, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said the change of guard in the SCCI has significant importance as the Saarc foreign minister-level meeting is being held in Nepal on Thursday.
Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa said South Asia is the least connected region in the world and there is need to work for eliminating tariff and non-tariff barriers. “I will raise the issue in the upcoming foreign minister-level meeting,” he said.
Even 10 years after the signing of the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (Safta), tarde in the region has not grown as expected. Despite being located in close proximity, South Asian countries do less than 5 percent trade among them as lack of physical connectivity and political will and long sensitive lists have remained stumbling block for enhanced trade and investment.
The trade accord, which was expected to boost intra-regional commerce, went into effect on January 1, 2006.
For example, Nepal’s trade with South Asian countries other than India barely registers on the scale. India accounted for 93.9 percent of Nepal’s total exports to South Asia and 99.4 percent of the total imports from the region in 2013-14.
According to trade experts, lack of transport connectivity, non-tariff barriers and Nepal’s failure to participate in the manufacturing chain of multinational companies are some of other reasons for its failure to diversify exports in the region.
Published: 15-03-2016 08:58