SAARC portal to be launched tomorrow

KATHMANDU: A regional trade portal is set to be launched on Thursday.

“The internet-based information system that contain decision-support trade and business information from all the eight South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations will help integrate the region,” said Horts Amman, programme manager, GTZ, German Technical Cooperation agency that has helped develop the portal. The easy flow of trade information will help increase intra-regional trade among SAARC nations that is at five per cent. The intra-regional trade among EU is 63 per cent and in ASEAN 38 per cent.

“The portal will become a vehicle to increase intra-regional trade. It’ll help bridge the gap between buyer and seller that will benefit both,” he added.

The idea of SAARC trade portal — a break from the conventional trade channel in the region — was floated in 2004. However, it was started only in July last year.

It took one-and-a-half year’s continuous efforts and euro1.75 million, generously aided by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), to make a SAARC portal a reality. The SAARC-TIP was officially approved by 38th SAARC Standing Committee, which was held in Sri Lanka. Initially, it was planned to be established in Sri Lanka but due to some technical reason, it is being set up in Kathmandu as the SAARC Secretariat is located here.

“The trade portal will be under the SAARC information Centre,” said Shree Dhar Gautam, director, SAARC Secretariat.

The project operation committee comprises 25 national public and private sector trade related institutions, including SAARC Chambers of Commerce and Industry and the SAARC Information Centre under the direction of advisory committee.

“It has 27 operational network partners. These institutions will appoint information managers, who will be trained by the International Trade Centre (ITC) that will also be linked to the SAARC trade portal,” he explained.

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI), Trade and Export Promotion Centre (TEPC) and Federation of Small and Cottage Industry of Nepal (FNCSI) are the Nepali network


The SAARC Trade Information Project (SAARC-TIP) is jointly implemented by the SAARC Information Centre (SIC) Nepal and GTZ under the advisory committee that is chaired by the representative of the SAARC presidency and represented by the SAARC secretary general. The trade information service generates revenue and increase transaction volumes to sustain the operations.

“The GTZ will support for the next one-and-a-half years. At present, the work is on revenue-generation models like charging subscription, placing advertisements, customised information and commissions, where two parties can trade via the portal that will help regional traders with diverse trade-related information,” added Gautam.