A two-day conference of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers has been kicked off in Islamabad.
About SAARC :
The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union in South Asia.
- Its member states include Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, the Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. SAARC compromises 3% of the world’s area, 21% of the world’s population and 9.12% of the global economy, as of 2015.
- SAARC was founded in Dhaka in 1985. Its secretariat is based in Kathmandu. The organization promotes development of economical and regional integration.
- It launched the South Asian Free Trade Area in 2006. SAARC maintains permanent diplomatic relations at the UN as an observer and has developed links with multilateral entities, including the EU.
- However, the organization continues to face many challenges. Disputes between nuclear rivals India and Pakistan have often clouded the union’s potential and progress.
Finance Ministers Meet:-
During two-day deliberations, the member states will review different activities being carried out in the region under SAARC mechanism, including customs cooperation, avoidance of double taxation, promotion and protection of investment, cooperation in the banking sector, and trade liberalization.
- Finance Ministers from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka are likely to attend the conference.
- On the first day, Finance Secretaries of the member states are discussing the current status of economic and financial cooperation in the region.
- They are having an overall economic outlook of SAARC economies and global impact on SAARC region.
- The conference would also discuss and devise a mechanism for regional trade promotion. SAARC Development Fund (SDC) operations would be made more effective for the development of the region.
- South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) and SAARC financial and banking system and investment opportunities in the region would also be discussed for the socio economic prosperity in the region besides discussing ways and means for the uplift of the people of the member states.
- SDC was established in 2010 with a total capital of US $ 1.5 billion while its paid up capital is about US $ 300 million. I is noted that SAARC Finance Ministers, after the conclusion of the meeting, would also attend the SDC Council meeting jointly.
Points to Remember :
- 7th meeting of SAARC Immigration Authorities held in Islamabad on August 3, 2016
- SAARC young Parliamentarians conference in Islamabad – Aug 16 – 18, 2016