Kathmandu, August 27:

Senior customs officials of the SAARC member countries have reached a consensus on the text of draft agreement on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters. The third meeting of sub-group on customs concluded here yesterday, which discussed the outstanding issues and agreed on the draft agreement on mutual administrative assistance in customs matters, according to the SAARC Secretariat, Kathmandu. The fourth meeting of SAARC Group on Customs Cooperation held last year in New Delhi had decided to set up the sub-group authorising to draft the agreement.

The sub-group meeting chaired by ATM Sarwar Hossain, member of the National Board of Revenue, Bangladesh was participated in by the representatives of customs authorities of all SAARC member states. The draft agreement will now be forwarded to the higher SAARC bodies for approval and signature at the 13th SAARC Summit scheduled for November 12-13 in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

This is the second draft agreement. Earlier, the text draft on the establishment of the SAARC Arbitration Council was finalised by the sub-group on investment and arbitration. The text of the draft pact on promotion and protection of investments is to be considered during the fifth meeting of the sub-group scheduled for October 5-6 in Kathmandu. The 10th meeting of the Committee of Experts on SAFTA is also scheduled for August 31 in Kathmandu.