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Framework Agreement

Eleventh Meeting of the Committee of Experts on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) 
Islamabad , 18-19 October 2005


The Government of the People's Republic of Bangladesh , the Kingdom of Bhutan , the Republic of India , the Republic of Maldives , the Kingdom of Nepal , the Islamic Republic of Pakistan and the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka hereinafter referred to as "Contracting States",

Motivated by the commitment to promote regional cooperation for the benefit of their peoples, in a spirit of mutual accommodation, with full respect for the principles of sovereign equality, independence and territorial integrity of all States;

Aware that the expansion of trade could act as a powerful stimulus to the development of their national economies, by expanding investment and production, thus providing greater opportunities of employment and help securing higher living standards for their population;

Convinced of the need to establish and promote regional preferential trading arrangement for strengthening intraregional economic cooperation and the development of national economies; Bearing in mind the urgent need to promote the intraregional trade which presently constitutes a negligible share in the total volume of the South Asian trade;

Recalling the direction given at the Fourth SAARC Summit meeting held in Islamabad in December 1988 that specific areas be identified where economic cooperation might be feasible immediately;

Guided by the declared commitment of the Heads of State or Government of the Member Countries at the Sixth SAARC Summit held in Colombo in December 1991 to the liberalisation of trade in the region through a step by step approach in such a manner that countries in the region share the benefits of trade expansion equitably;

Cognizant of the mandate given by the Sixth SAARC Summit in Colombo to formulate and seek agreement on an institutional framework under which specific measures for trade liberalisation among SAARC Member States could be furthered and to examine the Sri Lankan proposal to establish the SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) by 1997;

Recognising that a preferential trading arrangement is the first step towards higher levels of trade and economic cooperation in the region,

 

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