Tap­ping For­eign Mar­kets

Southasia - - REGULAR FEATURES -

and holy sites. Tashigang on the other hand is a moun­tain­ous area with nu­mer­ous tourist at­trac­tions.

The two lo­ca­tions are home to emer­ald moun­tains, buck­wheat fields, glis­ten­ing rivers, deep val­leys and ex­otic monas­ter­ies. Tourists can also char­ter pri­vate lux­u­ri­ous air­lines to reach their desti­na­tions. Bhutan, un­like other coun­tries, has pre­served its cul­tural her­itage and of­fers limited num­bers of tourists to per­son­ally visit re­li­gious and cul­tural desti­na­tions, take part in lo­cal ac­tiv­i­ties, visit ru­ral homes, at­tend fes­ti­vals and go on treks with lo­cal ex­perts.

Fol­low­ing the eighth meet­ing of the Ex­pert Group on SAARC Agree­ment on Trade in Ser­vice, the Nepal Trade In­te­grated Strat­egy (NTIS), iden­ti­fied 19 highly po­ten­tial ser­vice sec­tors that in­cluded tourism, la­bor, health, ed­u­ca­tion, IT and Busi­ness Process Out­sourc­ing (BPO), en­gi­neer­ing and hy­dro- electricity, and urged SAARC coun­tries to open up their mar­kets to for­eign in­vestors. Tech­ni­cal ex­perts con­cluded that the Nepali in­dus­try holds the ex­per­tise and ca­pac­ity in such ar­eas and will be able to tap re­gional mar­kets and al­low for re­gional in­te­gra­tion. Nepal has al­ready iden­ti­fied twelve man­u­fac­tur­ing sec­tors and seven ser­vice ar­eas.

Dur­ing the meet­ing, In­dia and Pak­istan pushed SAARC coun­tries to open up all ser­vice sec­tors to re­gional in­vest­ment, a de­mand that goes fur­ther than the com­mit­ments made un­der the World Trade Or­ga­ni­za­tion (WTO). How­ever, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Sri Lanka and the Mal­dives did not make any such re­quest for open­ing ad­di­tional ser­vice sec­tors.

SAFTA, a com­po­nent of SAARC, cur­rently in­cor­po­rates pro­vi­sions for trade in goods. Fol­low­ing the re­cent SAARC Sum­mit held in the Mal­dives, all mem­ber coun­tries are work­ing on a SAFTA frame­work that will ad­dress pro­vi­sions of free trade in ser­vices as well.

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