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South Asian countries may go for bi

South Asian countries may go for bilateral free trade

>From Pradip Kr Chakraborty
The Sangai Express newspaper (Imphal, Manipur)
April 27, 2000

Dhaka, Apr 26: South Asian countries may agree on bilateral free trade
arrangements as the proposed South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) is
yet to take shape, Bangladesh Commerce Minister Abdul Jalil said here

Jalil said that during his discussions with his counterparts in India.
Nepal and with the Sri Lankan authorities, they agreed to the bilateral
free-trade proposal.

Before leaving for New Delhi to attend the meeting of Commerce Ministers
of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand for Economic
Cooperation, the Minister told PTI that he would hold bilateral talks
with his Indian counterpart Murasoli Maran to strengthen Indo-Bangla
trade relations.

India and Sri Lanka had signed the bilateral free trade agreement which
prompted Dhaka to go for similar arrangements with the South Asian
nations. For the interest of our trade, we will have to initiate
discussions with these countries at the bilateral level, he said.

Jalil said that these trade arrangements would be confined to the member
countries of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation.

He said the two-day meeting of the Commerce Ministers from tomorrow
would focus on steps for increasing trade, commerce and investment among
the members of the new economic grouping.

The Delhi meeting would be the second ministerial meeting on trade and
economic affairs of the three-year-old regional organisation. PTI