SAARC needs to boost volume of trade - Prof. Peiris
It is imperative exploring practical avenues to increase the level of
trade within SAARC member countries, External Affairs Minister Prof G.L
Peiris said. “In the African region, strong steps have been taken to
promote intra regional trade within the African region and they have
come together and have inked agreements
Minister Prof G L Peiris
to promote trade among African
nations, which had a negative impact on Sri Lankan tea exports into
markets that we used to have in the major parts of the Africa continent.
This has been the global trade trend through out the world, which we
need to take into account seriously,”he said.
“It is a matter of great regret that the volume of trade within the
SAARC region is far below than what it should be.
There are eight countries which constitute the SAARC. In these
countries, we have a population of 1.5 billion representing
approximately one fifth of the global population or twenty percent of
Today, the volume of trade within the SAARC region is only 5%, while
the volume of trade within the European Union is 55%, 52% in North
American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA), 32% in Asia Pacific Regional
Cooperation and a total trade volume within the Association of Southeast
Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries, which amounts to 22%.
“Today the South Asian region must have a prudent mechanism to
facilitate trade within SAARC countries and businessmen need to be
proactive and need to get into a position where they could influence the
government, with the idea of changing the present system pertaining to
trade cooperation activities within the SAARC region,” a senior industry
official said at this event.