‘SAARC countries must develop socially inclusive trade practices’
Trade among SAARC nations is way below the desired figures and currency turbulence caused in the region reinforces the need for developing regional synergy to keep the economies stable, Bangladeshi central bank chief said. Addressing a meeting on ‘SAARC Financial Integration: Progress and Prospects’ in Mumbai on Tuesday, Atiur Rahman, Governor of Bangladesh Bank, asked the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) members to develop “socially inclusive, sustainable and environment-friendly trade practices” so as to ensure “financial integration” in the region. The meeting was part of the two-day banking conference FIBAC 2015 organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and Indian Banks' Association (IBA). About the bilateral trade between India and Bangladesh, Rahman said that both the countries are in the process of identifying areas of bilateral cooperation such as financial inclusion to strengthen their economies. He said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit to Bangladesh has already established the political will in favour of greater economic and financial integration. The Indian government has also expressed willingness to establish a mechanism or a special fund in order to meet the infrastructure needs of the region. Alain Raes, Chief Executive EMEA and Asia Pacific, Society for Worldwide Interbank Financial Telecommunication (SWIFT) SCRL, said that the need of the hour for SAARC nations is setting of an ambition, before establishment of institutions for regional inclusive development. SWIFT provides a network that enables financial institutions worldwide to send and receive information about financial transactions in a secure, standardized and reliable environment, which helps in faster economic growth, he added. According to Ajay Pandey, MD and Group CEO, GIFT (Gujarat International Finance Tec-City), the global financial centre will create a business environment to promote greater capital flows among SAARC nations. “GIFT would provide suitable regulatory regime and create a business environment to promote greater capital flows and it could be a helpful centre for financial institutions from SAARC nations to set up a base in as well for financial integration,” he said. Experts believe that the south Asian grouping can become a hub of international commercial arbitration. Speaking at the FICCI, Indian Council of Arbitration (ICA), SAARC Arbitration Council (SARCO) joint summit, Suresh Chandra, joint secretary, Law and Justice, had said that the institutionalizing of arbitration in SAARC is the key instrument to make arbitration a success story. L Savithri, Director, SAARC secretariat in Kathmandu, had also said that the SAARC region’s fast movement towards South Asian Economic Union will be the first building block to ensure free trade area in both goods and services for the SAARC countries.
August 26, 2015 | 3:52pm IST.