The 10th SAARC Trade Fair was successfully concluded in Kathmandu from 15 to 19 December 2010, where a number of companies both from the large and SME sectors of SAARC countries participated to promote their products and services.
The Chief Guest at the inauguration, Nepali Prime Minister Madhav K. Nepal stated that despite leaders of SAARC countries at successive meetings urging the countries to improve trade between SAARC countries, the figures had not been up to expectation.
As per the www.saarc-sec.org the intra regional trade between SAARC Countries as per the last published figures shows only about 4-5% of total trade. The Regional Trade Agreements, namely SAPTA, was entered into in 1993 and SAFTA in 2005 have been confined mainly to trade in goods and is viewed as a limiting factor. Globally, the trends governing bilateral and trade initiatives are moving towards implementing broad economic partnership agreements and areas of economic cooperation.
One of the main barriers that have been identified as an impediment to trade for SAARC countries is the lack of information and a step in the right direction was taken when the SAARC Trade Information Portal was launched to discover new avenues for business to explore South Asia's potential at a mere click.
The portal was officially launched on 29 October 2009 with the participation of government and private sector officials, business community and financial organisations of the region. Prof. G.L. Peiris, Minister then for Export Development and International Trade, represented Sri Lanka as the Guest of Honour at the launch.
Explore South Asia's potential and new avenues for business by visiting www.saarctrade.info, which offers all trade related information in the SAARC region with the click of a mouse. The SAARC Trade Information portal is an easy accessible trade database for traders including SMEs by connecting existing databases within the SAARC countries to a common SAARC entry point for trade information.
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The portal is a product of the SAARC Trade Information project jointly implemented by the SAARC Information Centre (SIC) and German Technical Coorperation (GTZ) in collaboration with 26 leading regional and national partners from both the private and public sectors in all eight SAARC nations - Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
The effort is to create a reliable website by providing access to trade information in the SAARC region in a more efficient and cost effective way to accomplish intra regional trading and create more business opportunities in the region.
The portal delivers the referral information to find the right information for each country based on the most useful categories for business decisions identified collectively by importers, exporters and trade support institutions across the region.
The portal was promoted at the 10th SAARC Trade Fair held in Katmandu from 15 to 19 December 2010 with the intention of informing the business community of the growing trade opportunities that will aid in creating more employment and thereby contribute to the socioeconomic development of the region. The Prime Minister of Nepal was the chief guest at the event.
The Ceylon Chamber of Commerce is a National Partner of the SAARC Trade Promotion Network and as the spokesman for the Trade Information Portal together with other national partners of working groups, promoted the trade promotion network amongst the stall holders as well as the visitors to the 10th SAARC Trade Fair
The second phase of the SAARC Trade Information project aims to enhance the features available on the portal by adding more value. The visitors will be offered the opportunity of requesting research information, accessing publications of the network partners, and registering the business contacts on the portal.
A newly-added feature will include placing advertisements on the portal based on the advertising models offered. The portal would be more customer-oriented with relevant, accurate and timely information. Unlock South Asia's potential by visiting www.saarctrade.info which provides a unique way to access all trade related information leading to better business decisions.