HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE
KATHMANDU: A working group of technical officials from the South Asia region have agreed to send their offer list to open up trade in the service sector by August end.
The SAARC Agreement on Trade in Services (SATIS) meet that concluded here in Kathmandu today is working out a framework to open trade in services in the region. Officials from the eight South Asian Association
for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) nations also decided to table the requests and offers of each country in the September meeting.
Some of the countries also proposed to go beyond World Trade Organisation and open up trade in the service sector in the region. The eight South Asian nations, under SAARC, signed the landmark agreement, SATIS, in April, 2010.
According to UNCTAD, developing the productive capacity of Least Developed Countries (LDCs) like Nepal in area of services, particularly tourism and infrastructure-related ones, like energy, communications, transport and financial services will be essential to both improve and diversify production of goods and services.
“Moreover, services like health and education will directly contribute to upgrading of human resources, skills and managerial capabilities that are essential for improving productive capabilities of countries,” it said, adding that the involvement of LDCs, however, in the world services trade remains extremely limited representing only 0.5 per cent in 2008.
Latest economic crisis has shown service exports tend to be more resilient than merchandise trade. Developing the services sector of LDCs can make them robust and promote economic growth, competitiveness and improve welfare, particularly, in landlocked countries where transborder transport and logistic issues can be major deterrents to trade in goods, UNCTAD added.