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Dhaka seeks omission of 755 goods from sensitive list
Jun '10
As per officials, Bangladesh zeroes down its own request-list of 755 products, which need to be excluded from the lists of 'sensitive' goods of the seven member countries of South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement.

The request-list was recently finalised by the Ministry of Commerce (MoC) with due discussions with the Tariff Commission, Chairman Dr Mujibur Rahman, and other private sector stakeholders. This was following a discussion that took place during the last SAFTA Expert Committee meeting, held in January last year. The list will soon dispatch to the SAARC secretariat.

As per the list Dhaka has sought for excluding 'sensitive goods in the following manner, 61 from India, 182 from Nepal, 176 from Pakistan, 68 from Maldives, 106 from Afghanistan, 10 from Bhutan and the rest 152 from Sri Lanka.

Dr Rahman said that, they were hoping that the list of goods of the SAARC member countries will be reduced as per Bangladesh's request list by the coming month, so as to make the regional trade pact more consequential.

Currently, there are 5,851 products from the seven member SAARC countries listed under 'sensitive', of which Bangladesh has about 1,100 products on its own list.

While the SAFTA charter was implemented since January 1, 2006, the tariff concession under it commenced only from July 1, 2006.

As per the charter, Sri Lanka, India and Pakistan, who are enjoying the developing countries status will reduce their tariffs on imports, from within the alliance to a range of 0-5 percent by 2010, whereas, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives and Bangladesh, enjoying the least developed country (LDC) status will follow the same by 2016. Afghanistan, an addition in LDC list, joined the agreement at a later stage.

Products listed to be excluded from the lists of sensitive products of other member countries are those that have an export potential in South Asian nations, informed MoC officials.

Woven apparels, knitwear, Jamdani saree, silk fabrics, jute goods, raw jute, toilet or facial tissue stock, sanitary napkin, paper or paperboard labels of all types, natural rubber (smoked sheets), edible grade soybean oil, women's or girls' blouses, girls' skirts and divided skirts, overalls and shorts for boys', girls' and women's, men's or boy's cotton nightshirts and pajamas, women's or girls' night dresses and cotton pajamas, swimwear for boys, girls and women, tracksuits, made-up clothing accessories and brassieres of all types of textile materials are some of the products proposed by Bangladesh for exclusion from the lists of sensitive items of other member nations.

After reducing the sensitive lists, there will be a second round of discussions on tariff concessions that might start off soon.

Fibre2Fashion News Desk - India

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