Saarc-CCI bid to boost regional economic ties

- POST REPORT, Kathmandu
Saarc-CCI bid to boost regional economic ties

Mar 8, 2015-

Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (Saarc-CCI) has announced it is coming up with a number of initiatives to enhance regional trade and investment in the South Asian region in line with promises made in the 18th Saarc Summit.

Among the plans are forming a CEOs’ forum, South Asian Investment Caucus, measures to address transit and trade issues in South Asian and sub-regional level, private sector engagement under Saarc Framework Agreement on Energy, and public private discourse on regional issues.

Saarc-CCI Acting President Suraj Vaidya said at a press meet here on Sunday the plan would be presented at the next Saarc-CCI annual general meeting to be held on Tuesday.

The proposed CEOs’ Forum will include members nominated by the members states, Saarc-CCI and those nominated by national chambers, including a vice president and executive committee member.

“The forum would not only help strengthen the organisation, but also help promote economic cooperation and deepen regional integration in South Asia,” states the action plan.

Vaidya said the forum is expected to help facilitate big investment in the region. He said they would also proposing the forum members to be included as invitees during a ministerial meeting.

To address transit and trade issues, the Saarc-CCI has proposed two mega projects -- establishing Saarc Shipping Company and Saarc Transport and Logistics Company. The Saarc-CCI intends to bring transit trade issues in South Asia so that landlocked countries like Afghanistan, Bhutan and Nepal could have access to other markets, instead of relying on neighbouring countries,” said the Sarrc-CCI.

The proposed South Asian Investment Caucus is an endeavour to encourage investors from South Asian companies to invest back in the region instead of their recent trend of investing outside South Asia.

“Like trade, intra-Saarc investment is also at the lowest level, which has limited the scope of economic cooperation, not allowing the region to deepen integration process,” state a press release of the Saarc-CCI.

Currently, trade among the Saarc member states accounts only 3-5 percent of the total global trade.

The Investment Caucus aims to bring across the table, the board of investments in South Asian countries and potential investors to deliberate upon the issue and pursue public private partnership model to encourage and promote free flow of investment within the region.

The caucus will invite 16 discussants (one from public and one from private sectors) along with 50-60 representatives from potential enterprises from across the region. It will conduct B2B meetings and will discuss business prospects in identifying potential areas for investment in South Asia.

Such discussions will take place in three phases -- firstly focusing on Afghanistan, Pakistan and India followed by another phase which will focus on Sri Lanka, Maldives and India. In the third phase, the focus of the discussion will be on Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and India.

Given the Saarc Framework Agreement on Energy singed at the recent Saarc Summit, the Saarc-CCI plans to organise two events by inviting representatives of large scale energy companies, energy practitioners for B-2-B meetings, presentations amongst investing enterprises to enable them to discuss on possible options for cooperation.

The events will be held, with first focusing on Pakistan, Afghanistan and India and second focusing on Bangaldesh, Nepal, Bhutan and India.

Under the plan of public private discourse on regional issues, the Saarc-CCI plans to organise consultative group discussion with public sector representatives from South Asia.

Published: 09-03-2015 08:51

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