India unhappy with Pak decision on SAFTA | india | Hindustan Times
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India unhappy with Pak decision on SAFTA

india Updated: Jul 11, 2006 18:07 IST

Unhappy over Pakistan's decision to limit trade with it to a few items under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA), India on Tuesday said such a move would make the agreement meaningless and sought an "urgent" meeting of the SAARC Commerce Ministers to discuss the issue.

Addressing the first SAARC Finance Ministers' meeting here, Minister of State for Finance Pawan Kumar Bansal also highlighted the need for combating terrorism collectively as also curbing cross-border terrorism to promote peace and security in the region.

Pakistan's move to limit trade to a few items with India under SAFTA contradicted the decision taken at the 13th SAARC summit in Dhaka last year which called for timely implementation of SAFTA, he told the meet inaugurated by Pakistan Prime Minister Shaukat Aziz.

The free trade agreement became operational from July 1.

Bansal said India was "surprised" to see Pakistan's notification issued on July 1 stating that SAFTA tariff concessions for India would be on 773 items existing in bilateral "positive list."

"We regard this action as going against the very essence of SAFTA as it operated on the basis of agreed sensitive lists. SAFTA has little operational meaning if commitments are not honoured in letter and spirit," he said.

He said Pakistan's decision to introduce conditionalties could undermine the credibility of SAARC members.

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