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Express Tribune

Published Date: Sep 12, 2012


Pakistan urged its regional peers to bring down non-tariff barriers for promotion of trade as the pool of regional experts suggest to reinvent the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) and to break barriers before finding solutions to common problems.

While proposing finding common grounds to emerging problems, Pakistan’s Defence Minister Naveed Qamar said that a lot has to be done to bring down the non-tariff barriers for greater intra-regional trade. Qamar was speaking at the inaugural session of the fifth round of South Asia Economic Summit on Tuesday.

Delegates gathered in Islamabad for the three-day conference with an aim to find ‘out of the box solutions’ to break from the chains of the past to achieve greater regional integration. The prime objective of the summit is to formulate policy recommendations for the 18th Saarc summit. The participants suggested establishing a South Asia Commission on Environment to tackle emerging climate change problem.

Speaking on abolishment of tariffs, Qamar said that progress has been made and in January 2013 the tariffs will be further reduced, hinting at complete trade normalisation between India and Pakistan. Islamabad is expected to remove the last legal hurdle in the complete trade normalisation process but that requires repealing the non-tariff barriers enacted by India.

Qamar said that the issue of climate change has long been ignored by South Asia and has now begun to haunt the region. He suggested formulating a regional climate change policy and to allow food movement across the borders.

He hoped that thaws in relations between India and Pakistan will give a boost to the efforts to find mutual solutions to mutual problems.