November 11, 2011 12:40:46 am
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Thursday announced that India has issued a notification reducing the Sensitive List for the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) to 25 tariff lines over the earlier 480,under the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA).
Zero basic customs duty access will be given for all items removed with immediate effect,said Singh in his statement at the inaugural session of the 17th SAARC Summit here.
The move is a major trade liberalisation effort,in recognition of the special responsibility that India has,owing to the size of her economy and market,and her geographical position in the South Asian region.
An acutely stressed global economy has imposed a fresh and entirely uncalled for burden on development al efforts,said Singh,and hoped that leaders of the major economies,particularly in the euro zone would show the wisdom and the will required to revive it.
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However,the world economy is going to take time to recover. In the mean time,developing countries like ours will be squeezed for capital,investments and markets for our exports. We should seek imaginative ways to create new avenues and sources of growth and investment in South Asia. If we can create favourable conditions for development at home,there is no reason why our investors should seek greener pastures elsewhere, said the Prime Minister.
We should work to create a climate whereby the wealth generated by us is invested back into our region. This will be the most ringing endorsement of our vision of a regional economy without boundaries.
He reiterated Indias commitment to the idea of a free and balanced growth of trade in South Asia and said that competition begins at home. While urging the SAARC countries to expedite the finalisation of the SAARC Agreement on Investment,Singh said,Our industries have to learn to compete if our economies are to have a future in this globalised world that we live in.
Towards meeting the objective of greater regional integration,the Prime Minister said that it was imperative to conclude a regional Air Services Agreement for which India could host a meeting of officials next year.
He stressed the need to conclude a Regional Railway Agreement and a Motor Vehicle Agreement as a matter of priority.
The Prime Minister commended the SAARC Postal Administration for agreeing to establish a South Asian Postal Union and volunteered to host the ad-hoc secretariat in India and sponsor training courses at the Postal Staff College to train up to 10 SAARC officials a year.
Singh asked SAARC member states to follow up this agreement by improving telecommunications linkages to reduce call rates and telecommunication tariffs and interconnection termination charges.
India will be ready to facilitate the development of a regional telecommunications infrastructure to improve the quality of connectivity, he said.
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