Brief Notes on SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement – (SAPTA)


On April 11, 1993, the Council of Minister signed the SAPTA. Its main objectives are:

1. Gradual liberalization of trade among the SAARC members.

2. Elimination of trade barriers among the SAARC nations. Especially, Tariff reduction.


3. Promoting and sustaining trade and economic cooperation among the member nations of SAARC.

SAPTA would be improved gradually for the mutual benefit of all the practice in the product areas covering raw material., semi-finished goods and finished goods for mutual convenience.

SAPTA makes provision for information, consultation and dispute settlement. Least development countries such as Bhutan and Nepal among the members are given extra concessions. Members can withdraw from SAPTA by giving a 6 month notice.

In 2005, SAARC’s 13th meeting was held at. Dhaker for obtaining consensus about the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) from 1, January 2006.


SAARC’s 14lh meeting was held at New Delhi in April 2007. Agreement took place above to root-out terrorism in the region.

India accorded the must favoured Nation (MFN) status to Pakistan in the trade and economic multers.

SAARC members also united to fight against biases under the WTO arrangements.

China has shown her interest in joining the SAARC and in the 14th summit the members have supported this issue.


Iran has also shown her interest in joining the SAARC on observer category. The issue was postponed for the next meeting.

Critics have however observed that the SAPTA has not been functioning effectively due to conflict between India and Pakistan. Further, the SAARC members lack significant trade potential and enthusiasm such as in the case of ASEAN members.

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