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2nd SAFTA Ministerial Council meeting at SAARC Summit

Feb '07
Shri Kamal Nath, Union Minister for Commerce and Industry, has said that “India will be at liberty to review concessions given to Pakistan under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) Agreement in case of continued non-compliance with the Agreement by Pakistan. However, concessions given to other countries will remain”.

Shri Kamal Nath articulated India's views while participating in the 2nd meeting of the SAFTA Ministerial Council in Kathmandu, making it clear that there could not be a qualified implementation of SAFTA by a member country.

At a press conference, the Minister reiterated that Pakistan had not complied with what they had acceded to under SAFTA. While the concept of SAFTA is based on a negative list, Pakistan has provided a positive list in the case of India.

He stressed that it was not a matter of disagreement or dispute with Pakistan but only a question of Pakistan's compliance with and implementation of its obligations under the Agreement and pointed out that this approach fractures the solidarity of the economic engagement among SAFTA countries.

He also pointed out that implementation of SAFTA would benefit Pakistan's economy and expressed the hope that Pakistan would recognise this and the need to implement SAFTA in letter and spirit.

The 2nd SAFTA Ministerial Council meeting has taken placeat an important juncture, as the next SAARC Summit is to be held within just about month's time, in New Delhi on April 3-4, 2007

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