Cabinet decision on SAFTA goes to secretariat today
Bangladesh is expected to forward the 'instrument of ratification' of the regional trade deal, SAFTA, to the SAARC secretariat by today, as its operation is set to begin from January next year.
The ministry of foreign affairs is sending the instrument to the Kathmandu-based regional club at the behest of the commerce ministry, official sources said.
"We've sent the cabinet ratification of the SAFTA accord to the Foreign Ministry today (Wednesday) …and the foreign ministry will forward the same to the SAARC secretariat tomorrow," a commerce ministry official told the FE.
"As far as the forwarding of an instrument of ratification of any treaty is concerned, we usually do it upon request from the ministries concerned. We'll send the SAFTA ratification tomorrow," a high official of the foreign ministry said.
The SAARC secretariat will then scrutinise the pros and cons of the technical issues pertaining to the free trade pact before July next, the official added.
The cabinet at its regular meeting Monday, with Prime Minister Khaleda Zia in the chair, approved the ratification of the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) to clear the way for enforcement of the deal by January 1, 2006.
Bangladesh may see an exponential growth in its merchandise exports to the region, home to one fifth of the world's population, during the post-SAFTA period, foreign trade analysts say.
The SAFTA will become operational from July 1, 2006 as per the decision taken at the 12th meeting of the committee of experts (CoE), held in the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.