Country Report Bangladesh January 1996 Main report

Foreign Trade & Payments: SAPTA tariff reductions are agreed

The five members of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Bhutan and the Maldives, have taken the first step in liberalising trade among their countries. At a meeting in Kathmandu in December the South Asia Preferential Trading Association (SAPTA) was launched with the agreement to reduce tariffs on 224 goods by 10%. There are no immediate plans to dismantle non-tariff barriers, although it is intended to tackle these in the future. The economic effects of SAPTA are likely to be very small while the physical infrastructure for regional trade remains inadequate and there are major non-tariff barriers in place (including foreign exchange restrictions).

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