South Asian service trade proposal approved

January 22nd, 2009 - 2:30 pm ICT by ANI  

Kathmandu, Jan 22 (ANI): India’’s proposal regarding the South Asian service trade has been approved by the other countries in the region.
According to Kantipur, the special committee meeting on the agreement was chaired by Bidra Pokhrel, General Secretary of the Nepal Ministry of Commerce and Supplies.
“All the countries in the region have given the green signal to the proposal. Although it will take some time for Bangladesh to make its constitution, the agreement has been approved by others,” Pokhral said.
He also requested other neighbouring countries to invest in sectors besides what they had pledged in the World Trade Organisation (WTO). There are around 11 sectors and around 160 sub-sectors in the WTO.
Nepal has promised to invest in 11 sectors and 70 sub-sectors in the WTO. India has opened six sectors, Bangladesh two and Maldives one sector to foreign investment. Bhutan and Afghanistan have not yet registered with the WTO.
This is the second meeting on service trade. The meeting is focusing on collecting different aspects of the agreement. The first meeting was held in Kathmandu in November.
Another reason for Nepal to request the nations to open their sectors is to adapt them to the changing worldwide trade system. The current proposed draft says that only those sectors and sub-sectors within WTO should be taken into consideration.
Experts said that if all the nations didn”t open their sectors then the agreement would fall under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) product trade and would be equivalent to selling products only.
Nepal has not been able to export any kind of products due to the provisions mentioned by SAFTA.
Around 50 percent of the Gross Domestic Produced (GDP) is contributed by South Asian service trade while it contributes 25 percent to international trade. Similarly, service trade contributes 50 percent of Nepal’’s GDP. If remittance is taken into account, service trade accounts for 30 percent and contributes 33 percent of the international revenue collection. (ANI)

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