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Saarc Industry Park to be set up

Kathmandu, July 22, 2016: The Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SCCI), a business conclave of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc), on Thursday announced that a Saarc Industry Park would be opened in each of the member countries. The proposed industrial park is expected to boost exports of the products of the Saarc countries.

According to the chamber, it has signed an agreement with the Pakistan government to open a park there. “The Pakistani government has agreed to provide 250 acres of land in Faisalabad for this purpose,” said SCCI President Suraj Vaidya.

According to him, the Bangladesh government will be providing 150 acres of land in Chittagong, the Bhutan government will be providing 50 acres of land and the Indian government is likely to establish a Saarc Garment Industrial Park in Gujarat.

Vaidya said they were holding talks with the Nepal government for land to build the industrial park. He added that the SCCI had been trying to include all the Saarc member countries in the Motor Vehicle Agreement.

Last year, four countries, namely Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal, signed the accord for seamless movement of people and cargo among the countries. Vaidya said Pakistan was likely to join the agreement in the near future.

Apart from forming the agreement for free vehicular movement, the SCCI has also been working to boost air connectivity among the Saarc countries. “We are planning to reduce major charges like airplane landing and parking fees for improving air connectivity by holding talks at different levels,” he said. “It will mainly help landlocked countries like Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan to reduce the cost of doing business.”

The SCCI said it had also been endeavouring to improve relations with business conclaves in other countries besides the Saarc region. According to Vaidya, they have stepped up efforts to tie up with international organisations like the World Bank, Asian Development Bank and United Nations and non-member countries to increase investment in Saarc countries and promote tourism. According to Vaidya, the SCCI is taking initiatives for the development of the Karnali Chisapani Hydropower Project. The SCCI recently set up its regional office in Sri Lanka, while it is planning to establish an office in Mumbai.