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Pak stand on Safta: Govt concerned

December 12, 2006 17:43 IST

Voicing concern over Pakistan's non-implementation of South Asian Free Trade Area, the government said on Tuesday the effect of Islamabad's notification was limited to tariff concessions for India on items in the positive list.

During the Dhaka South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation Council of Ministers' meeting in August, India had "very forcefully raised concerns regarding non-implementation of Safta by Pakistan, pointing out that this was a negation of Safta and jeopardised its implementation," Commerce Minister Kamal Nath told the Lok Sabha.

The notification issued by Pakistan on July 1 for tariff reductions under the agreement was with a "rider" which makes imports from India subject to their import policy order prescribing a list of importable items in the positive list.

This list, which earlier consisted of 773 items, has been expanded to 1,075 items by Paksitan on November 3, Nath said.

After protracted negotiations at the Dhaka conference, it was finally agreed that the next regular meeting of the Safta Ministerial Council would have to resolve this issue, the minister said.

"The issue is now slated to be discussed in the next SMC meeting to be organised by the Saarc secretariat as per the mutual convenience of the member states," Nath said.

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