Tapping Foreign Markets
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.