The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is the free trade agreement of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC). The agreement entered into force in 2006 and replaced the 1993 SAARC preferential agreement. SaFTA signatories are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. The SAARC Preferential Trade Agreement (SAPTA), which provides for the establishment of a preferential trade zone between the seven SAARC member States, namely Bangladesh, Butan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, was signed in Dhaka in April 1993. The idea of trade liberalization among SAARC countries was first discussed by Sri Lanka at the sixth summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) held in Colombo in December 1991. It was agreed that SAPTA was a stepping stone to a higher level of trade liberalization and economic cooperation among SAARC member countries. Objective The agreement was signed in 2004 and entered into force on 1 January 2006 with the wish of the SAARC member states (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) to promote and maintain economic trade and cooperation within the saarc by exchanging concessions. 3 Ships: ships operated commercially in a Contracting State and operated by one or more citizens or governments of a Contracting State or of a partnership, entity or association duly registered in that State Party, the cost of which is 60% of the own funds of one or more citizens and/or a government of this Contracting State or of 75% of the citizens and/or governments of the States Parties. However, products of vessels engaged in commercial fishing activities under bilateral agreements providing for the chartering/leasing of such vessels and/or the allocation of catches among the Contracting States may also benefit from preferential concessions.
(5) In critical circumstances, there is an exceptional situation in which massive preferential imports cause or are likely to cause serious injury that is difficult to remedy and where immediate measures are necessary. Guided by the commitment declared by the Heads of State and Government of the Member States, at the Sixth SAARC Summit in Colombo in December 1991, to liberalize trade in the region through a phased approach, so that the countries of the region share equitably the benefits of trade expansion; 3. In the absence of agreement between the States Parties concerned within six months of receipt of the notification and if the notifying State Party modifies or withdraws such concessions, the States Parties concerned, as defined by the Committee, may withdraw or modify equivalent concessions in their respective timetables. Any such change or withdrawal shall be notified to the Committee. . . . .