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Kamal Nath to attend SAARC Ministerial meet in Islamabad

Our Bureau

New Delhi , Nov. 21

THE Union Minister of Commerce and Industry, Mr Kamal Nath, is leaving for Islamabad on Monday to participate in the 4th meeting of the SAARC Commerce Ministers to be held there on November 22-23.

The meeting is expected to give a major and renewed thrust to trade and economic cooperation among the countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and to facilitate faster progress of negotiations on the SAARC Free Trade Area (SAFTA), which is due to come into effect from January 1, 2006 as per the agreed time frame.

According to an official communiqué, the meeting of the SAARC Commerce Ministers is preceded by the two-day 12th meet of the Committee on Economic Cooperation (CEC) held in Islamabad.

The agenda for the commerce ministers meet includes, inter alia, review of the progress on negotiations on matters relating to economic cooperation since the pervious meeting of the CEC in Kathmandu in 2002 covering the SAARC Preferential Trade Arrangement (SAPTA) including exchange of tariff concessions among members and progress on negotiations since the signing of the SAFTA agreement.

The other items on the agenda include progress in the field of investment, arbitration and avoidance of double taxation, the proposed SAARC Infrastructure Fund.

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