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Be flexible in intra trade in the region without compromising security concerns : Dinesh tells SAARC

Dinesh Gunawardena

Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena has urged the SAARC Member Countries to exercise flexibility in intra-trade in the region without compromising security concerns to buttress the smaller economies in the region, including Sri Lanka.

He was addressing the event held to commemorate the 35th SAARC Charter Day at the Taj Samudra Hotel on 10 December 2019, organized by the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry, in collaboration with the Sri Lanka Federation of Chambers of Commerce and Industry. The Charter-Day event was attended by the Colombo based SAARC diplomatic missions and the business community.

 During the address, he said:

“ There is a need to address the current unsatisfactory intra-trade figures that currently stand below 6% in the South Asia region that hosts over 20% of the global population. We can compare ASEAN as an example for SAARC to replicate and that the ASEAN region has over 22% intra trade in a region of less than 9% world's population.

While we recognize the existing strong policy framework in the SAARC region for trade expansion, we need to protect the environment, which is a challenging issue for the region faced with unprecedented natural disasters and erratic weather patterns.”

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