News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:
June 2018

SASEC Countries to Gain by Improving Transport Times

By investing in infrastructure that improves connectivity and reduces transport times to key markets, South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries could reap major benefits, a new Asian Development Bank study says.

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Tags: SASEC, ADB, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, World Bank

May 2018

BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation Holds First Meeting

The BIMSTEC Working Group on Customs Cooperation held its first meeting on 10-11 May 2018 in New Dehi, India. The Meeting discussed progress in customs cooperation among BIMSTEC countries, and finalized the draft text of the 'Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs Matters' for the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Customs, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Trade

May 2018

ADB Advisor: Renewables, Regional Cooperation, LNG Import can Help Boost Sri Lanka's Energy Security

Dr. Yongping Zhai, Technical Advisor (Energy), Sustainable Development and Climate Change Department, Asian Development Bank (ADB), and Mr. David Elzinga, Senior Energy Specialist, ADB, advised the Government of Sri Lanka to keep their options open in securing the country's energy future. Reiterating ADB's support for Sri Lanka's energy security, Dr. Zhai urged the country to opt for renewables over coal to fast-track its commitment to the Paris agreement.

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Tags: ADB, Renewable Energy, Climate Change, Energy, Sri Lanka, Regional Cooperation

May 2018

India, Japan, and People’s Republic of China to Build LNG Terminals in Sri Lanka

The Government of India signed an agreement to build two liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminals in Colombo, Sri Lanka, in collaboration with the Government of Japan. These were approved by the Government of Sri Lanka, along with an LNG project by the People's Republic of China. In total, the three LNG power plants will generate up to 1,400 megawatts.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Renewable Energy, Energy, LNG

April 2018

Sri Lanka Finalizes National Export Strategy, Appoints Advisory Committees

The National Export Strategy (NES) of the Government of Sri Lanka has been finalized by the Export Development Board (EDB) and is ready for submission to the Cabinet. The strategy aims to boost the performance of the country's focus sectors and improve the business environment by developing trade support functions in logistics, trade information and promotion, and national quality infrastructure.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Exports, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Tourism

March 2018

Sri Lanka Commerce and Industry Ministry: Stronger Maritime and Air Links can Boost Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Ties

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry of Sri Lanka emphasized the need for the country to build stronger maritime and air links with Bangladesh to increase bilateral trade and investments. Improving linkages between Sri Lanka's Hambantota/Colombo ports and Bangladesh's Chittagong port will encourage more shipping, tourism, and investments, according to the Ministry.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Shipping

January 2018

Women Entrepreneurs Look to SAARC Markets

South Asian Women Development Forum (SAWDF) will promote products by women entrepreneurs in markets in SAARC countries. A Women Entrepreneur International Trade and Technology Hub will be developed in Visakhapatnam, India, with ADB assistance. The Hub will serve as a one-stop platform for women entrepreneurs and provide training on international trade and business.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade

December 2017

Speech: BIMSTEC at 20—Priorities for the Future

In her keynote address at the dialogue on BiMSTEC at 20—Priorities for the Future, Ms. Grace Asirwatham, State Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka, reflects on the prospects for connectivity and prosperity among BIMSTEC member countries and explores the organization's priorities, including trade, transport, energy, and climate change.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport, Energy

November 2017

Nepal to Join BIMSTEC Energy Grid

Nepal has decided to join the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grid interconnection, a move meant to help facilitate trade in electricity and take full advantage of available energy sources. Nepal is expected to sign an MOU to join the grid interconnection at the Third BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, BIMSTEC, Energy, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

November 2017

Amending India’s Electricity Act Could Enhance Trade with SAARC Countries

An Asian Development Bank report suggests that a shift in India’s electricity policy could help address the acute electricity shortages faced by SAARC countries, which affects socioeconomic development as well as business operations. Policy amendments could help facilitate cross-border power trade among SAARC countries and give communities better access to electricity.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Energy, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade

October 2017

SASEC Program Upgrades to Mobile-Friendly Website with Improved Security

The new-look SASEC website is fully mobile-friendly and automatically adjusts to fit the screen you are using — computer, tablet, or mobile phone—making it a convenient choice for staying in touch with regional cooperation throughout South Asia. SASEC has also updated to HTTPS for enhanced cybersecurity and user privacy.

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Tags: SASEC, ICT, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Maldives

October 2017

SAARC Nations Can Achieve Sustainable Development Goals Together

Ms. Sumitra Mahajan, Speaker, Lok Sabha, India, said South Asian countries need to present a collective front to help the world achieve the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Speaking at the Conference of the Association of SAARC Speakers and Parliamentarians, Ms. Majahan stressed the importance of interaction among the parliaments of SAARC countries and said that national parliaments should focus on the SDGs.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Sustainable Development Goals

September 2017

New Sri Lanka Foreign Affairs Minister Embarks on a 3-day Visit to India

Mr. Tilak Marapana, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Sri Lanka, and Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India, discussed India-Sri Lanka bilateral relations during Mr. Marapana’s three-day visit to India. He also paid a courtesy call to India Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, India, Regional Cooperation

August 2017

Colombo Port to Install New Container Scanning System

Sri Lanka Customs held a groundbreaking ceremony for a new container scanning system at Colombo Port. Four scanners, set to be fully operational within six months, will enable round-the-clock scanning. Speaking at the ceremony, Mr. Mangala Samaraweera, Finance Minister, Sri Lanka, urged modernization of the prevailing Customs legislation to enhance the country's trade facilitation.

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Tags: Sri Lanka

July 2017

Commentary: Bangladesh – A Market for Sri Lankan Investors

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka are working to increase their trade volume and diversify their products to promote more mutually-beneficial trade. This commentary by Mr. Amila Muthukutti, Sri Lankan economist and business writer, discusses market opportunities in Bangladesh for Sri Lankan investors, and highlights how a Free Trade Agreement will pave the way for strong trade relations.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Free Trade Agreement, Bilateral Trade

May 2017

SAARC Finance Ministers Meet in Yokohama, Japan

Finance ministers and senior officials of member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), including Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka met on 5 May at Yokohama, Japan, at the sidelines of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) 50th Annual General Meeting.

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Central Asia, Climate Change, Energy, India, Maldives, Nepal, Policy, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, SASEC, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

April 2017

India, Sri Lanka Sign MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on 25-29 April 2017, for discussion with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Infrastructure, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Transport

April 2017

India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact

India's Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the ratification of the MOU for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. The MOU is expected to be signed at the next BIMSTEC Energy Minsters' Meeting and provides a broad framework for energy trade among BIMSTEC member countries.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Connectivity, Energy, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand

April 2017

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, Economic Corridor Development, Energy, ICT, India, Nepal, Maldives, Myanmar, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Regional Cooperation

March 2017

SASEC Program Is Now on Facebook

SASEC is now on Facebook, connecting followers to the most up-to-date news on regional cooperation in South Asia, SASEC events, project information, and publications that are all featured daily on www.sasec.asia. To follow SASEC on Facebook, simply click here; then click “Like” at the top of the Facebook page.

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Tags: SASEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Regional Cooperation, Trade, Economic cooperation

February 2017

WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Enters into Force

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement came into force after Rwanda, Oman, Chad, and Jordan submitted their instruments of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The submissions bring the total number of ratifications over the 110 required for activation. Members’ trade costs are forecast to lower by 14.3%, with developing countries having the most to gain.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, LDC, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

January 2017

APTA Member Countries Move to Boost Trade in the Region

Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, member countries of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), moved to expand trade and boost growth in the region by agreeing to increase the number of products under preferential tariff treatment to 10,677 items from 4,270 at the 4th session of the APTA Ministerial Council.

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Tags: Asia-Pacific, Bangladesh, Development, Regional Cooperation, Services, Sri Lanka, Sustainability, Tariffs, Trade, Trade Facilitation, UNESCAP, India

January 2017

Sri Lanka Seeks to Attract Foreign Investment, Boost Exports

The Government of Sri Lanka aims to attract $50 billion in foreign investment in the next 5-10 years to help develop infrastructure, and boost exports to $20 billion by 2020. This year, Sri Lanka expects to sign free-trade deals with India, Singapore, and China.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Exports, India, China, Free Trade Agreement, BIMSTEC, Tourism

January 2017

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka Discuss Bilateral Free Trade Deal

The new Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka, Mr. Riaz Hamidullah called on Sri Lanka Finance Minister, Mr. Ravi Karunanayake to discuss a potential Bangladesh-Sri Lanka free trade agreement. The Meeting emphasized benefits to be gained by both countries from this type of agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Free Trade Agreement

December 2016

Commentary: Bhutan and Nepal: Two "Least Developed Nations" that Could Change Face of Asia

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) comprise around 880 million people yet account for less than 2% of the world gross domestic product. South Asian countries can accelerate economic development and graduate from the LDC category by working with each other. The economic future of their people could change radically through collaboration between the countries and lift millions of people out of poverty.

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Tags: Bhutan, Nepal, BBIN, Connectivity, Energy, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade, UNCTAD

December 2016

4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Central Board of Excise and Customs organized the 4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting in New Delhi, India, as part of its Founding Day celebrations. The Heads of Customs Enforcement from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Maldives were invited to participate in the said Meeting, which discussed issues of mutual concern, noted the need to share information and activate channels of coordination.

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Tags: Customs, Trade Facilitation, South Asia, Regional Cooperation, India, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Trade

December 2016

Ferry Services between Colombo and Tuticorin Being Planned

The Colombo Shipping Corporation is planning to re-establish ferry linkages under public-private partnership. A SAARC Meeting of Experts from India, Maldives and Sri Lanka, recommended resumption of ferry services between Tamil Nadu and Sri Lanka. 

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Tags: ADB, India, Maldives, Public-Private Partnership, Regional Cooperation, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Transport

November 2016

Sri Lanka Ports Authority, ADB Engage Firm to Develop Master Plan

The Sri Lanka Ports Authority and the Asian Development Bank has engaged the Maritime and Transport Business Solution company to develop a National Ports Master Plan to further strengthen Sri Lanka's port sector.

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Tags: ADB, Sri Lanka, SASEC, Ports

November 2016

Bangladesh, Sri Lanka to Sign a Free Trade Agreement

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka have agreed to sign a free trade agreement to enhance bilateral trade between the two countries. This decision came out of of the Fifth Joint Economic Cooperation Session between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, and reflects an eagerness of both countries to improve trade volumes.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Free Trade Agreement, Exports, Imports

November 2016

Online Alert System for SPS/TBT Notifications Launched

EPing, an online alert system for updates on the latest information on regulatory requirements for international trade, was launched by the United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, the World Trade Organization, and the International Trade Centre. The system enables access to WTO member notifications on TBT and SPS measures, and facilitates dialogue among the public and private sector in the early stages of potential trade issues.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Technical Barriers to Trade, Sanitary and Phytosanitary, Trade, WTO, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

November 2016

Conference Promotes Paperless Trade Implementation in Sri Lanka

A conference held by the Sri Lanka Press Institute highlighted how enabling paperless trade will improve Sri Lanka's business competitiveness, and help the country achieve its ambition of becoming a regional logistics hub by enhancing its international trade processes.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade, Trade Facilitation, ICT

October 2016

India's Foreign Secretary Discusses Potential Partnerships with Sri Lanka's President, Prime Minister

Mr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India, called on Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss potential partnerships between India and Sri Lanka in sectors including energy, infrastructure, and transport, and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to further discuss boosting bilateral trade and investment.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Energy, Infrastructure, Transport

October 2016

Power Trade to Help South Asian Countries Save $9 Billion Annually, Reduce Emissions

South Asian countries should engage more in regional energy trade and joint management of resources. By doing so, they could save over $9 billion annually and reduce carbon emissions by 8%. And since energy drives development, energy cooperation and trade is expected to translate to improved standards of living and poverty reduction.

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Tags: Energy, Hydropower, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

September 2016

SASEC Countries Gear Up for Greater Economic Cooperation

The six member countries of the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program have launched the SASEC Operational Plan for 2016-2025. The plan expands the program’s focus beyond intraregional cooperation to deepening linkages with Southeast and East Asia, and widens the scope of transport, trade facilitation, and energy cooperation to include economic corridor development as a priority initiative. The plan also lists more than 200 potential regional projects for South Asia.

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Tags: ADB, SASEC, Economic corridor, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

September 2016

13th SAARC Trade Fair Held in Thimphu

The 13th SAARC trade fair was held in Thimphu, Bhutan, to promote intra-regional trade and investment among SAARC countries. In his opening address, Mr. Lekey Dorji, Bhutan Economic Affairs Minister, underscored the importance of fostering business links among companies in the region to accelerate economic growth and improve people's well-being.

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Tags: SAARC, Trade, South Asia, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka

September 2016

Maldives Invites Sri Lankan Firms to Invest in Projects

The Government of Maldives invited Sri Lankan businesses to invest in the archipelago, and bid for projects in airport development, housing, hospitals and renewable energy. Maldivian High Commissioner in Sri Lanka, Zahiya Zareer emphasized the need for Maldives and Sri Lanka to build more commercial ties.

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Tags: Maldives, Sri Lanka, Airports, Renewable Energy

September 2016

Bangladesh to Sign FTA, Coastal Shipping Deal with Sri Lanka

Bangladesh is set to sign a free trade agreement and a coastal shipping deal with Sri Lanka to boost trade and investments between the two countries. A Joint Study Group will be formed to accelerate development of the coastal shipping agreement, for which standard operating procedures are being drafted.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Free Trade Agreement

August 2016

SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Trade, Taxation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting focused on improving trade relations among member nations. Discussions revolved around economic issues, Customs unions, avoidance of double taxation, improving connectivity, increasing trade volume, and developing supply chain linkages.

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Tags: SAARC, India, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Connectivity, Customs, SASEC, Trade

August 2016

Commentary: Trade Portal and Single Window Reduce Cost of Doing Business

The National Trade Portal and National Single Window are important components of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA). This commentary by Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer, Business Initiative Leading Development of Bangladesh, discusses how these could improve trade, gives an update on Bangladesh's initiatives toward ratifying the WTO TFA, and recommends a region-wide Single Window for South Asia.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, ASEAN, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

August 2016

Speech: Increasing Sri Lanka's Export Competitiveness

Ongoing negotiations for the proposed Sri Lanka-India Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement (ETCA) are addressing many of the existing procedural barriers and delays Sri Lankan exporters face in Indian ports of entry. In this speech, Mr. Malik Samarawickrama, Sri Lanka Minister of Development Strategies and International Trade, discusses measures included in the Government's economic reform agenda, including ETCA.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade, Exports, India

August 2016

Editorial: Basin-wide River Management for South Asia’s Prosperity

River management provides opportunities to release regenerative capacities of the people and environment of basin-wide areas. The following article suggests South Asian countries cooperate to fulfill a promise of greater sustainability. Cooperation in water resource management can serve as a catalyst for broader regional cooperation, economic integration, and development.

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Tags: BBIN, Rivers, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka, Transport

July 2016

SASEC Investment Projects Top $7.7 Billion

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) investment projects increased to a cumulative $7.66 billion in the areas of transport, energy, trade facilitation, and ICT with the recent approval of India’s Bihar New Ganga Bridge Project. To date, 40 SASEC-supported projects are helping member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. In addition, there are now 71 technical assistance projects worth $66.14 mi

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Tags: SASEC, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, South Asia, ADB, ICT, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Economic Corridor Development

July 2016

ADB Blog: Why Economic Corridor Development is the Way Forward for South Asia

The economic corridor development (ECD) strategy is an approach that integrates and synergizes industry, infrastructure, and urbanization through meticulous planning over a long-term horizon. An Asian Development Bank (ADB) blog post by Mr. Hoe Yun Jeong, Senior Economist (Regional Cooperation), South Asia Regional Department, published on 26 July 2016, shares how an ECD approach can be beneficial for the South Asia region.

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Tags: Economic corridor, India, Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, South Asia, East Coast Economic Corridor, Economic Corridor Development, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

July 2016

India, Sri Lanka to Fast-track ETCA Negotiations

The Governments of India and Sri Lanka have agreed to fast-track negotiations on the proposed Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement, with the aim of concluding talks by end 2016. A meeting between Indian and Sri Lankan officials is set in August 2016, where discussions may include removal of technical barriers to trade hampering Sri Lankan exports to India.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Trade

July 2016

BIMSTEC Negotiating FTA, Other Proposals to Enhance Trade

The BIMSTEC free trade agreement (FTA) currently under negotiation by the inter-regional organization could benefit the region's trade by helping operationalize production links among member countries and eliminating non-tariff measures within a mutually agreed timeframe. BIMSTEC members are also considering a single visa proposal and extension of the BBIN transport agreement to Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Free Trade Agreement, Transport, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Blog: Is South Asia ready for a Regional Motor Vehicles Agreement?

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal (BBIN) signed a landmark Motor Vehicles Agreement (MVA) meant to allow smooth passage of goods and passenger vehicles in each other’s territories. In this blog post, Sanjay Kathuria, Lead Economist and Coordinator, South Asia Regional Integration, Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice, World Bank, asks if South Asia is truly ready for such a regional agreement.

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Tags: South Asia, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

July 2016

Commentary: 800 Million Reasons

Mr. Hun Kim, Director General, South Asia Department, ADB, describes how partnership of 6 South Asian countries through the ADB-supported South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program is helping propel economic growth in South Asia, amidst an uncertain regional and global economic climate, by working to increase trade volumes to reduce the number of impoverished people in the region.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Energy, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

June 2016

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka Look Into Setting up Trade Portals

Bhutan, Nepal, and Sri Lanka have expressed interest in adopting best practices of the Indian Trade Portal in setting up their own trade portals to promote international trade. Trade portals to be set up by Bhutan and Nepal will also be useful for cargo being routed through India, and will contribute to the common documentation system needed to implement the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Portal, Trade Facilitation, SASEC, Customs, Trade

June 2016

Sri Lanka Trade Minister Sees Need for Comprehensive Trade Agreements

Sri Lanka needs to immediately put in place a comprehensive system of trade agreements, says Mr. Malik Samarawickram, Sri Lanka Minister for International Trade. In a business forum in Singapore, Mr. Samarawickram highlighted Sri Lanka's efforts to remove certain tariffs and to modernize its Customs system through ASYCUDA and the one-stop shop at the Central Customs Clearance Unit.

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Tags: Trade, Sri Lanka, Exports, Ports

June 2016

SAARC CCI and SAARC Development Fund to Co-finance Projects

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund (SDF) and SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry have pledged to collaborate and co-finance projects under the SDF's social, economic and infrastructure windows to promote regional connectivity across the SAARC region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade, Transport

May 2016

Sri Lanka Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Sri Lanka has ratified the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA), submitting its instrument of acceptance on 31 May 2016. Mr. R.D. Susiri Kumararatne, Ambassador to WTO, Sri Lanka, presented Sri Lanka's instrument to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The TFA will maintain the country's competitiveness in global and naval trade.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

May 2016

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka Agree to Enhance Trade Relations

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena agreed to further enhance bilateral trade relations at a meeting held on the sidelines of the G7 Outreach Summit in Japan. President Sirisena also accepted an invitation extended by Prime Minister Hasina to visit Bangladesh in December this year.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade

April 2016

3-year SAARC Business Visa, SAARC Industrial Park to Boost Trade in the Region

The new SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (CCI) Senior Vice President Ajith Wathuhewa shared that the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) business visa will be extended from 6 months to 3 years, to be made available by end 2016, to help increase SAARC inter-regional trade. A SAARC Industrial Park in Sri Lanka is also planned to increase trade in the region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, Industrial Park, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

April 2016

Commentary: Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where Do We Stand in South Asia?

Dr. Selim Reihan notes that drivers of political economy can impact the region's integration agenda. In this essay, Dr. Raihan highlights the importance of exploring the political economy of regional integration to generate a better assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, and create broader awareness among stakeholders to stimulate a more realistic and effective regional policy design and processes.

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Tags: Economic corridor, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, SAARC, SAFTA, Services, South Asia, Infrastructure, Trade Facilitation, Transport

March 2016

Thailand Proposes FTA with Sri Lanka

Thailand is proposing a Free Trade Agreement with Sri Lanka, according to Thailand Deputy Prime Minister for Economic Affairs, Dr. Somkid Jatusripitak. The two countries have signed 3 memorandums of understanding and letters of intent to triple their bilateral trade by 2020, bringing it from $500 million to $1.5 million in 5 years.

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Tags: Thailand, Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade, Free Trade Agreement

March 2016

WTO Developing, LDC Members Encouraged to Start Preparing for Entry into Force of the TFA

WTO members were advised to notify the WTO about their technical assistance and capacity-building needs, including the timeframe to ensure effective implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The WTO Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation has received 81 “Category A” notifications and an increasing number of “Category B”and “Category C” notifications.

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Tags: WTO, LDC, Trade Facilitation, Sri Lanka

February 2016

ADB Supports Upgrade of Colombo Port through PPP

Sri Lanka's Colombo Port will be expanded through a public–private partnership initiative, with support from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The Sri Lanka Ports Authority and ADB signed a $500 million transaction advisory services agreement for upgrading of the port's East Container Terminal. The project is set to improve the port’s value proposition by bringing leading operations and technology from the private sector.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Ports, Public-Private Partnership, Trade Facilitation

February 2016

SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal

The SAARC-ADB First Training Programme of Nodal Points on Updating SAARCSTAT Web Portal was organised by the Pakistan Bureau of Statistics (PBS). The Training focused on updating national data available on the SAARCSTAT Web Portal to enhance usability, and equipped representatives from Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka with knowledge and capacity to upload and update their information on the website.

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Tags: SAARC, Trade, Economic cooperation, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka

February 2016

SAARC Energy Regulators to Harmonize Regulations to Boost Electricity Trade

The Second Meeting of the SAARC Energy Regulators agreed to address regulatory barriers through a Regional Regulatory Body, which will work toward harmonizing legal, policy, and regulatory frameworks to promote wider availability of electricity and boost cross-border trade in the region.

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Tags: SAARC, Energy, Trade, Sri Lanka

February 2016

Sri Lanka to Increase Renewable Energy Generation, Export Excess Energy

Sri Lanka aims to become an energy self-sufficient nation, drawing on renewable energy sources locally by 2030. The Government's vision for Sri Lanka's energy sector also includes generating additional 1,000 megawatts of renewable energy for consumption by 2035, and excess energy for export to neighbors, including India, by 2050.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Renewable Energy, India

February 2016

India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission Highlight Areas for Cooperation

The 9th Session of the India-Sri Lanka Joint Commission discussed strengthening India-Sri Lanka cooperation in areas including energy and trade. The two countries are also preparing to open negotiations on the Economic and Technology Cooperation Agreement. Further possible collaboration in railway development and renewable energy was also bookmarked by the Joint Commission.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Energy, Trade Facilitation

January 2016

Sri Lanka Customs Implements Single Window System

Sri Lanka Customs launched its Single Window System, paving the way for smoother and more efficient cross-border trade transactions. According to Sri Lanka Customs Director General Chulananda Perera, the Single Window benefits traders by lessening delays and cutting down on cumbersome procedures. Mr. Dinesh De Silva, Chairman, Import Section, Ceylon Chamber of Commerce sees the Single Window System driving down costs for businesses.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, Trade

January 2016

SARSO Agrees Standards on 6 Products

A set of regionally agreed standards for 6 products, including sugar and cotton, in South Asia has been finalized by the South Asian Regional Standards Organization (SARSO), in response to the need to ease regional trade by harmonizing standards on key goods. SARSO aims to complete issuing formal notifications on these 6 products by March, to will allow goods marked 'compliant' to SARSO's standard and testing regulations to be exported to any SAARC county without need for laboratory testing.

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Tags: Standards Harmonization, Trade Facilitation, SAARC, SARSO, Sri Lanka

January 2016

Sri Lanka Prepares to Ratify the WTO TFA

Sri Lanka's Cabinet of Ministers has given its approval to ratify the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA), following a proposal made by Sri Lanka's Minister of Industries and Commerce, Mr. Rishad Bathiudeen. The TFA will maintain the country's competitiveness in global and naval trade.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, WTO, Trade Facilitation

December 2015

Mutual Recognition Agreement on Standards on India-Sri Lanka Agenda

The 4th India-Sri Lanka Commerce Secretary meeting agreed to include the signing of a Mutual Recognition Agreement (MRA) on Standards in the agenda of an upcoming meeting in February 2016. This MRA aims to boost Sri Lankan exports to India by automatically allowing products certified by the Sri Lanka Standards Institution to enter India. A study by Verite Research found that non-recognition of Sri Lanka's standards certificates in India affects growth of Sri Lankan exports in India.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Trade

December 2015

Celebrating 30 Years of SAARC

On 8 December 1985, the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Charter was signed by Heads of State/Government of SAARC Member States during the First SAARC Summit held in Dhaka, Bangladesh. SAARC promotes welfare economics, collective self-reliance among the countries of South Asia, and accelerated socio-cultural development in the South Asia region.

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Tags: SAARC, Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka

November 2015

Bhutan and Sri Lanka Hold First Annual Bilateral Consultation

The first annual bilateral consultation between the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Sri Lanka, held on 16 November 2015 in Colombo, discussed cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, and air connectivity. Membership of regional organizations and frameworks, including SAARC and BIMSTEC, was emphasized by the two countries as one way to strengthen links and enhance trade and economic cooperation.

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Tags: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade, Connectivity, Transport

November 2015

Look Beyond Traditional Economic Thinking to Expand Economic Ties: Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Dhaka

Sri Lanka High Commissioner in Dhaka, Ms. Yasoja Gunasekera said Bangladesh is working toward expanding economic ties with Sri Lanka for their mutual benefit, at an event organized by the Diplomatic Correspondents' Association-Bangladesh. She encouraged both countries to look beyond traditional economic thinking and explore initiatives to promote economic cooperation.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Trade

October 2015

Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to Sign Free Trade Agreement

Bilateral discussions between Bangladesh and Sri Lanka to sign a Free Trade Agreement enhancing trade and investment cooperation are at the final stage. According to Bangladesh Commerce Minister Tofail Ahmed, the two countries are working together to boost trade and increase connectivity. Bangladesh has proposed removal of all non-tariff barriers on exports, including pharmaceutical goods.

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Tags: Trade, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka

October 2015

Bangladesh Prime Minister and Sri Lanka High Commissioner Discuss Bilateral Cooperation

Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Sri Lanka High Commissioner Yasoja Gunasekera discussed a possible scope of cooperation during a courtesy call paid by the High Commissioner to the Prime Minister in October. Prime Minister Hasina encouraged more Sri Lankan investments and joint ventures in Bangladesh's 22 special economic zones. Bangladesh is also considering introducing a sea route to Sri Lanka.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade, Energy, Transport

September 2015

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Wickremesinghe and India Prime Minister Modi Set to Deepen Engagement

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe has extended an invitation for Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to visit Sri Lanka in May or June 2016 to sign an agreement on economic and technological cooperation. The two Prime Ministers held discussions on enhancing economic ties between India and Sri Lanka and resuming ferry services during Prime Minister Wickremesinghe's visit to New Delhi, India on 14-16 September 2015.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, India, Trade, Transport

August 2015

Sri Lanka Customs to be Fully Automated in 2016

Sri Lanka is in the final stages of its Customs automation process to ensure trade facilitation. Customs operations will be electronically processed and computer-based for a paperless environment that allows more interaction between trade and Customs. Automation equipment orders have been placed and delivered to Sri Lanka -- and the system is expected to be fully operational by March 2016.

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Tags: Customs, ICT, Sri Lanka

July 2015

India Considers Re-establishing Rail Link with Sri Lanka

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is considering a proposal to establish a rail bridge linking Rameswaram, a coastal pilgrim center in Tamil Nadu and Thalaimannar, Sri Lanka. The two countries would be linked if the project materializes.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Transport

June 2015

Sea-Bridge May Connect India and Sri Lanka

The construction of a sea-bridge and an underwater tunnel linking the 23 kilometer stretch between Talaimannar, Sri Lanka and Dhanushkodi, India is under discussion, according to India’s Transport Minister, Nitin Gadkari. The sea bridge would help expand the trans-South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation road and transport network.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Transport

April 2015

Bhutan Prime Minister Visits Sri Lanka, Discusses Aviation

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, accompanied by several Cabinet Ministers, engaged in bilateral talks with the visiting Prime Minister and Bhutanese delegation. Both countries pledged to enhance bilateral cooperation and establish air links between Paro and Colombo.

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Tags: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Transport

April 2015

India and Sri Lanka to Propose Resumption of Negotiations on CEPA

A Bilateral Committee is to prepare a new draft framework between India and Sri Lanka and bring life back to stalled negotiations related to the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA). CEPA aims to deepen the existing FTA between India and Sri Lanka, including in the areas of services and investments. In order to achieve the CEPA objective, it is recommended that representatives from relevant trade chambers – National Chamber of Exporters and Department of Commerce – be included.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Trade

March 2015

India and Sri Lanka Forge Ties to Increase Trade

Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi visited Sri Lanka on 13-14 March 2015, and signed four agreements with recently-elected Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena, including a Customs Cooperation Agreement that aims to balance the trade deficit between the two countries. He is the first Indian prime minister to visit the country in 28 years.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Trade, Customs

February 2015

India-Sri Lanka Bilateral Talks to Deepen Economic Ties

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena’s recent visit to India after assuming office last month allows both countries to adopt a fresh approach to bilateral ties. New leadership in both New Delhi and Colombo has the potential for economic cooperation in development, commerce, and trade. According to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, India is proud to be a trade partner of Sri Lanka and plans to take bilateral relations to a new level.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade

February 2015

India Expands Duty-Free Items to Sri Lanka

India plans to reduce the number of sensitive items subject to import duty under the South Asia Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) for Pakistan and Sri Lanka. It has already decreased the number of sensitive list items for least developed countries (LDCs) of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region. According to A.M. Gondane, Joint Secretary, SAARC, this will have Customs revenue implications for both countries.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Trade

November 2014

Boarding Soon: Direct Flights between Nepal-Sri Lanka

Direct flights between Nepal and Sri Lanka—through capital cities Kathmandu and Colombo—are scheduled to resume in early 2015. This move is expected to boost connectivity, further increasing trade and tourism between the two countries.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Nepal, Transport

September 2014

Prime Minister Modi Affirms SAARC as a Strong Regional Block

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held separate bilateral meetings with Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, and Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala. The neighboring leaders discussed their support for the ‘neighborhood first’ policy and affirmed their commitment to South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as a regional block that can solve common problems.

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Tags: India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka

September 2014

Japan Assists Sri Lanka to Become Regional Hub

Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s recent visit to Sri Lanka recognized the country’s promise as a future regional hub. As maritime and agro-based nations, both Japan and Sri Lanka have advantages in developing bilateral trade. Japan will extend its technologies and skills to Sri Lanka, improve infrastructure, and reduce power shortages in the country. Sri Lanka will provide maritime access to huge markets and ensure freedom and safety of navigation in the region.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade, Regional Cooperation

July 2014

Sri Lanka-Bangladesh Trade Crosses $100 Million for the First Time

As Sri Lanka-Bangladesh trade crosses the $100 million mark for the first time, Bangladesh seeks to set up an investment promotion mechanism to increase trade volumes and improve bilateral trade. The Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) incorporates investment fundamentals for Bangladesh investors looking at Sri Lanka as a future trade partner.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bilateral Trade

May 2014

SASEC Integration Indicators Updated

Data for Integration Indicators in the SASEC subregion have been updated to reflect trade figures from the Maldives and Sri Lanka, SASEC's newest members. Their inclusion boosts SASEC's intra-regional trade indicators and highlights the growing importance of regional trade. Data values for January-August 2013 were added.

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Tags: Trade, Regional Integration, Maldives, Sri Lanka

May 2014

The Maldives and Sri Lanka Join SASEC Program

Nodal officials of the founding SASEC member countries — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal — endorsed inclusion of the Maldives and Sri Lanka as new members at the SASEC Nodal Officials’ Meeting 2014 in Astana on May 3.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Sri Lanka, Maldives

October 2012

Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2012

ADB in cooperation with UNESCAP organized the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) held on 30-31 October 2012.

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Tags: ADB, Asia-Pacific, Development, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation, UNESCAP

October 2012

South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Transmission Utility Forum

Many countries in the South Asia region face the challenges of energy shortages as they gear up for higher economic growth.

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Tags: Energy, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, South Asia, Sri Lanka