The SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) reflected the desire of the Member States to promote and sustain mutual trade and economic cooperation within the SAARC region through the exchange of tariff concessions.

The idea of liberalizing trade among SAARC countries was first mooted by Sri Lanka at the sixth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) held in Colombo in December 1991.

Four rounds of negotiations were held under SAPTA. SAPTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) leading subsequently towards a Customs Union. Accordingly SAPTA was superseded with the implementation of SAFTA. Product coverage was limited under SAPTA and usage of tariff preferences under the SAPTA has been gradually decreasing.

SAPTA - at a glance

Date of signing of the agreement Date of coming into effect Members Negotiation approach Products coverage
11th April 1993 07th December 1995 Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives,
Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
Positive List Over 6,500

 SAPTA Rules of Origin Criteria (RoO) under SAPTA applicable to Sri Lanka - at a glance

Wholly obtained products

Not Wholly obtained products

General Rule

Cumulative Rule

40% < DVA

50% < RAC

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DVA = Domestic Value Addition

RAC = Regional Aggregate Content

 

Statistical Analysis

Sri Lanka’s country wise exports and imports under SAPTA

                                                                                                Value in US$ Mn

Country

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

Export

Import

Export

Import

Export

Import

Export

Import

Export

Import

India

4.09

.68

2.67

.17

2.89

.07

2.86

.18

1.54

.07

Bangladesh

.77

.04

.62

.01

1.52

-

.55

.02

.19

.04

Nepal

.03

-

.00

-

-

-

.01

-

.01

-

Pakistan

.36

-

.10

.26

.04

.11

.03

.03

.00

-

Maldives

.01

-

.01

-

.04

-

.06

-

-

-

Total

5.26

.72

3.40

.44

4.49

.18

3.52

.23

1.75
.11
   Source: Sri Lanka Customs

 Sri Lanka’s product wise exports under SAPTA

Value in US$ Mn

HS

Description

Year

Change

in 2019

over 2018

(%)

Share

in 2019

(%)

2015

2016

2017

2018

2019

400821

Other non- cellular rubber : Plates, sheets and strip

2.38

2.26

2.10

1.68

1.19

-29.54

67.99

401693

Other : Gasket, washers and other seals

.26

.21

.30

.35

.21

-39.19

12.25

350520

Glues

-

.09

.12

.10

.17

71.40

9.70

230990

Preparation of a kind used in animal feeding

-

-

-

-

.13

-

7.39

090411

Pepper

1.62

.21

.22

.28

-

-100.00

.00

Other

1.00

.64

1.73

1.10

.05

-95.70

2.72

Total

5.26

3.40

4.49

3.52

1.75

-50.41
100.00
Source: Sri Lanka Customs