huge potential to promote intra-regional trade. He said many regional blocks strengthened economies and improved living standards of their people by promoting intra-regional trade, but Saarc was still least integrated region in the world. He said European Union was having 66 percent intra-region trade, North America 53 percent, Asia Pacific 32 percent and South East Asian region 25 percent, but intra-trade in Saarc was still hovering around just 4-5 percent despite possessing immense potential to improve it.
He said about 43 percent of the 1.6 billion population of Saarc countries was languishing in poverty as these countries were unable to take better initiatives to promote regional trade. The result was that the total GDP of Saarc member states was still only 3 percent of the world's total GDP.
ICCI Acting President urged that Saarc nations should take all possible measures to fully implement South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) to enhance intra-trade trade. For this purpose, they should develop adequate physical infrastructure, liberalize visa regimes and enable their private sectors to tap full trade potential of the Saarc region with the aim of uplifting billions of poor people out of poverty.-Agencies