Establishment of SAARC industrial park gathers momentum

Kathmandu, July 21

The initiative taken by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) to establish a SAARC industrial park in each member nation has been gaining momentum as some of the member states have designated areas for the proposed SAARC industrial park.

The governments of Bangladesh, Pakistan and India have already decided to provide land for the industrial parks. Pakistan has provided 250 acres of land in Faisalabad city, Bangladesh government has announced that it will establish the park in Chittagong and the Indian government has pledged to establish SAARC garment industrial park in Gujarat, according to Suraj Vaidya, president of SCCI.

The concept of industrial parks was floated by Vaidya after assuming office as SCCI president.

“Industrial parks will begin a new era of intra-regional trade investment relation among SAARC member nations to establish a deeper economic cooperation from the current status of least-integrated region,” Vaidya stated. “SAARC member nations need to promote regional trade and investment by slashing the tariff, para-tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade and also provide double-taxation avoidance scheme and other incentives to lure investment.”

Intra-regional trade and investment in South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region is less than five per cent as compared to inter-region trade and investment among the SAARC members.

Poor connectivity in South Asia is major reason hindering deeper economic integration. SCCI has been lobbying to materialise proposed Railway Agreement and Motor Vehicle Agreement among SAARC members during 19th SAARC summit, which is going to be held in Pakistan by year-end.

Similarly, SCCI has finalised 20 private sector projects from each member nation and will soon be seeking investment from SAARC and beyond the region as well. The SCCI is going to organise investors’ meet in the United States, Dubai, the Philippines and Singapore in the near future.

Vaidya also laid emphasis on energy cooperation among South Asian countries. He also informed that SCCI has given emphasis for the promotion of Buddhist circuit to increase the flow of tourists. SCCI has been preparing to organise SAARC trade fair in Bhutan in September; SAARC Tourism Summit in India in October; South Asia Investors Forum in association with Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry in Delhi in October; and SAARC Business Leaders Forum from November 4 to 12 in Islamabad of Pakistan focusing on deeper economic ties in the SAARC region.