Islamabad: A meeting of the Commerce ministers of SAARC was held on 14th December,2011 in Geneva on the margins of 8th WTO Ministerial Conference. The Ministers expressed concern on the current state of Doha Development Round and reiterated their full commitment to an early outcome.
They took note of the current global situation and agreed on the importance of monitoring protectionist tendencies. Commerce Minister of Pakistan Makhdoom Amin Fahim stressed the importance of increasing trade amongst the SAARC region to mitigate the negative impact of the global financial and economic crisis.
He emphasized the importance of further strengthening this cooperation through sustained dialogue. Ministers agreed to continue this current practice of aligning positions on Doha Development Round on the margins of WTO ministerial meetings.
SAARC ministers on the request of Pakistan indicated strong support to an early accession of Afghanistan and Bhutan to the WTO. Ministers welcomed the decision on LDC waiver in services and desired a continuous flow of resources for ‘Aid for Trade’ to address the supply side constraints of the developing and least developed countries. Srilanka highlighted the need to work on food security issues within the region, especially setting up of a Food Bank.
The Indian Commerce Minister hoped that in the upcoming meeting of SAFTA(South Asian Free Trade Agreement) in Pakistan, we would be writing a new essay on regional cooperation leading towards Asian integration.
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