Himalayan News Service

Kathmandu, March 28:

The seventh meeting of the Committee of Experts (CoE) on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) concluded in the Maldives. The meeting was held on March 22-24 under the chairmanship of Ahmed Naseem, assistant executive director, investments, foreign investment services bureau, ministry of trade and industries, government of Maldives. According to a press release issued by the SAARC Secretariat today, the delegations from all members states attended the meeting. “Bilateral negotiations were held on the indicative sensitive lists, one of the four outstanding issues. Substantive discussions were held on the other issues such as draft of SAFTA rules of origin, mechanism for compensation of revenue loss and technical assistance to LDC members states.” The eighth meeting of the CoE would be hosted by Nepal on April 17-19. It also agreed to hold its ninth meeting at the SAARC secretariat Kathmandu from May 19-21, states the release. SAFTA agreement is scheduled to enter into force on January 1,2006