SAARC-ADB Fourth Special Meeting on Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II)

24-25 Jun 2019

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) hosted the Fourth Special Meeting on Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II) on 24–25 June 2019 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The meeting:

  1. Provided updates by member states on the status of implementation of the recommendations of the SAARC-ADB Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II);
  2. Provided updates for moving towards a South Asian Economic Union (SAEU), including the status of the SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS);
  3. Reviewed progress on the implementation of the six recommendations of the SAARC-ADB Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II) for moving towards the SAEU:
    1. Reduction/removal of non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and Para-Tariff Barriers (PTBs)
      • Recommended that member states forward to the SAARC Secretariat by 31 December 2019 the notifications of NTBs/PTBs faced by their exports in other SAARC countries. A member state may send a nil report in case there is no concern.
    2. Energy cooperation
      • Noted that Bangladesh has offered to host the Fifth Meeting of the SAARC Energy Council of Experts of Energy (Electricity), subject to confirmation, with the financial and technical assistance from ADB.
    3. Trade facilitation measures
      1. Recommended that all member states may convey their status on action taken on trade facilitation measures by 31 December 2019.
      2. Recommended that member states may take early action in examining the recommendations contained in section 6.11 (Trade Facilitation) of the Executive Summary of the Regional Economic Integration Study (Phase-II) and inform the SAARC Secretariat about the status by 31 December 2019.
    4. Investment cooperation
      1. Noted that comments on the draft SAARC Investment Treaty have been received from Afghanistan and urged the remaining member states to convey their comments.
      2. Requested the SAARC Secretariat to host the Ninth Meeting of SAARC Sub-Group on Investment and Arbitration to consider and finalize the draft SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investments after the receipt of comments of all member states on the draft treaty.
      3. Urged member states to send comments on Pakistan’s draft paper on greater flow of financial capital and intraregional long-term investments to the SAARC Secretariat before 30 September 2019; Recommended that Pakistan revise the proposal by 31 December 2019 and submit the revised proposal on the next Meeting of the Inter-Governmental Expert Group on Financial Issues for consideration.
    5. Reduction of products in the sensitive lists
      • Recommended that member states exchange their Request Lists and Offer Lists for Reduction in the Sensitive Lists under Phase-III so India may announce the dates for hosting the Fourth Meeting of the Working Group on Reduction in the Sensitive Lists by 31 December 2019.
    6. Improvement in connectivity (rail, road, air, and maritime) among member states
      • Requested the SAARC Secretariat to seek information from other regional and international organizations on how they have proceeded towards formulating their Air Services Agreements; and
  4. Discussed the future course of action.

Officials and representatives from the SAARC Secretariat, member states, and ADB attended the meeting.

Sector: Regional Cooperation Forums

Date: 24-25 Jun 2019

Location: Kathmandu, Nepal

Contact Person: Dongxiang Li

Date: 4 Feb 2021
Sector: Trade Facilitation
Venue: Online

Date: 8 Dec 2020
Sector: Transport
Venue: Online