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Chapter Four An Overview of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

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Chapter Four  An Overview of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC)

 

The Overview of SAARC


1. Establishment

In December 1985, the state heads of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka gathered in Dhaka, and they passed the Declaration of South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation and the Alliance Charter of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, which mark the official establishment of SAARC.

2. Aim

According to the Alliance Charter of South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, the SAARC aims at to promote the welfare of the people of South Asia and to improve their quality of life; to accelerate economic growth, social progress and cultural development in the region and to provide all individuals the opportunity to live in dignity and to realize their full potential; to promote and strengthen selective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia; to contribute to mutual trust, understanding and appreciation of one another's problems; to promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in the economic, social, cultural, technical and scientific fields; to strengthen cooperation with other developing countries; to strengthen cooperation among themselves in international forums on matters of common interest; and to cooperate with international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.

3. Members

Eight Members: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

4. Observers

Nine Observers: China, Japan, South Korea, Myanmar, the United States, European Union, Australia, Iran, and Mauritius

5. Headquarters

The SAARC Secretariat is located in Kathmandu. Ms. Fathimath Dhiyana Saeed took the post of Secretary General of SAARC on March 1, 2011. She is the first female Secretary General of SAARC since its establishment.

6. Major Events

SAARC has held sixteen summits in different member states. In recent years, the regional cooperation and opening to external regions have gained momentum. In 2004, the Framework Agreement of the South Asian Free Trade Zone was passed by the Summit of SAARC. All member countries began lowering their tariff rates since January 1st, 2006, with the tariff rate to be lowered from the current rate of 30% to 0% or 5%.

SAARC

1. Background

It was the prospect of being left behind in the global economic arena that initially brought the representatives of national Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the SAARC countries together at the second meeting of chambers of Commerce & Industry of the developing countries (G-77) in New Delhi in December 1988. A memorandum of understanding was signed among these representatives expressing their intention and desire to establish the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of SAARC countries for the promotion of trade and industry in the SAARC region and to develop and achieve common objectives in these areas. The memorandum of understanding was the precursor to the current SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

2. The Establishment of SAARC

Established in 1985, SAARC had hitherto avoided including core economic issues in its program, but in the wake of the desire for a SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the SAARC Secretariat commissioned a study on Trade, Manufactures and Services in 1988. The study was completed in 1991 and strongly supported to establish a SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry to bring about improvement in the business environment disseminate information about potential tradable goods and identify joint ventures in the SAARC region.

Pursuant to the directive of the SAARC Secretariat, SAARC Chamber of Commerce & Industry, assisted by the National Federations, submitted its draft constitution to the SAARC Secretariat and received its approval in December 1992. This signified the official recognition of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI) by all the national governments of SAARC as the apex body of all the National Federations of Chambers of Commerce and Industry of SAARC as follows:

Presently all National Chambers/ Federations of the respective member countries serve as focal points to facilitate the SAARC CCI Secretariat in Islamabad.

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