The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was established in 1985. The member states of SAARC are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. Afghanistan became the 8th member with the signing of a joint declaration during the 14th SAARC summit held in New Delhi in April 2007.

The SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) was signed in April 1993 and came in to force in December 1995. The SAPTA aimed at promoting mutual trade and economic cooperation among the member countries through exchange of concessions.

However, the member countries recognized the need to progress beyond a preferential trading arrangement and move towards a higher level of trade and economic cooperation in the region. As a result, the SAARC Council of Ministers signed a framework Agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in January 2004 in Islamabad. The SAFTA entered into force on 1st January, 2006. 

Phase-I of the Trade Liberalization Programme (TLP) under SAFTA implemented with effect from 01st July 2006 and scheduled to be completed by 31st December 2015.

The negative lists of member states under Trade Liberalization Programme (Phase I) is as follows

Member State Number of Products in the Sensitive Lists (Phase-I TLP)
Afghanistan 1072
Bangladesh 1233 (LDCs)
1241 (NLDCs)
Bhutan 150
India 480 (LDCs)
868 (NLDCs)
Maldives 681
Nepal 1257 (LDCs)
1295 (NLDCs)
Pakistan 1169
Sri Lanka 1042

The Phase-II of the Trade Liberalization Programme (TLP) under SAFTA implemented with effect from 1st January 2014 and the revised negative lists of member states are as follows;

Member State Number of Products in the Revised Sensitive Lists as Per HS 2007(Phase-II TLP)
Afghanistan 858
Bangladesh 987 (LDCs)
993 (NLDCs)
Bhutan 156
India 25(LDCs)
614 (NLDCs)
Maldives 154
Nepal 998 (LDCs)
1036 (NLDCs)
Pakistan 936
Sri Lanka

837 (LDCs)
963 (LDCs)