Dar hopeful of materializing SAEU dream soon

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Dar arrives in Yokohama to attend ADB’s annual meeting

ISLAMABAD, Aug 26 (APP): Finance Minister, Senator Muhammad Ishaq Dar Friday expressed the hope that the dream of establishing South Asian Economic Union (SAEU) would be materialized soon to ensure regional development and pull out the people from poverty and  hunger.

“I am sure that we will come up with concrete recommendations on steps to ultimate goal of the SAEU that would provide a viable way of getting the peoples of our region out of poverty and would give a new push to the multifaceted regional cooperation,” Dar said while addressing the inaugural session of the 8th Meeting of SAARC Finance Ministers here.

A range of mechanisms have supplemented the overall
cooperation in economic and financial sectors among the Member States to achieve SAEU in a phased and planned manner through a Free Trade Area, a Customs Union, a Common Market, and a Common Economic and Monetary Union.

“There is a need for a focused attention on shared goals by
the national governments to realize the dream of the South Asian Economic Union,” he added.

He was of the view that South Asia was a region with countless opportunities and vast potential to meet the growth requirements of its peoples, adding the assets of the region, among others, include vast fertile lands, deep seas, large mountain ranges, high peaks and a huge youth bulge.

The region needs joint strategies and convergence of commonalities among the SAARC member states to exploit its resources for the economic and social uplift of our peoples, he added.

The minister said that since its inception, SAARC has made
considerable progress in the areas related to economic and social areas for the uplift of the peoples of the South Asian region.

Dar said that the concerted and time-bound efforts at SAARC platform are the only way to get the masses of the South Asian region out of the clutches of poverty and hunger.

The minister said that the unfinished agenda that includes,
the SAARC Limited Multilateral Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation and Mutual Administrative Assistance in Tax Matters, SAARC Agreement on Promotion and Protection of Investment, Harmonization of Customs Procedures and Documentation, establishment of SAARC Development Bank, proposal to allow for greater flow of financial capital and intra-regional long-term investment and recommendations
of SAARC-ADB Study on Regional Economic Integration(Phase-II), has been delaying the process of intra-regional and inter-regional integration of the South Asian region.

All these subjects need special attention of this forum to
move ahead in consonance with the global economic and financial architecture.

Keeping in view the interests of the Least Developed, Land-
locked, and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) in SAARC, the progress on all the pending areas is imperative.

Speaking on the occasion, Secretary General of SAARC Arjun
Bahadur Thapa said that holding of the 8th SAARC Finance Ministers’ conference was the realization of the commitment to work for the development of the region.

He was of the view that the regional integration has great
potential to offer opportunities for the collective uplift of the
peoples of the region.