Centre committed to extending full cooperation to Nepal: Jairam

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Patna, Apr 27 (UNI) Reiterating committment of the UPA government at the Centre to extending full economic cooperation to Nepal, Union Minister of State for Commerce Jairam Ramesh today said the change of regime in the Himalayan nation will not affect our bilateral relations.

Addressing the valedictory session of a seminar on India-Nepal economic cooperation in the context of Nepal's development priorities organised here by Public Diplomacy division, Ministry of External Affairs and the Bihar Government, Mr Ramesh insisted that there is a need to focus on new dimensions of bilateral relations between the two countries.

He maintained, economy is not just GDP growth but far beyond such trivial issues. He said the noble ideas of globalisation and economic liberalisation will not serve the purpose till we open our market for free trade to realising our long cherished dream of SAFTA (South Asia Free Trade Agreement).

He also requested the SAARC nations, including Nepal to cut tarrifs on cross-border trade by regulating non-tarrif barrier.

''About 50 such barriers have been notified by SAARC nations, out of which, 30 were approved by the Nepal government, which is not suitable to realise the vision of SAFTA,'' he said, adding that Pakistan is adamant on not wanting to grant MFN (Most Favoured Nation) status to India, with support from US refusal to grant MFM status to Cuba, which is a big hindrance to the successful implementation of SAFTA.

Referring to imports of Hilsa fish, a delicacy among Bengalees, and Zardozi sari popular in Lucknow from Bangladesh and cement from Pakistan, he said that there must be non-tarrif barriers and the nations in South Asia should behave like labour lease friends and then only would it be possible to compete in the international race.

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