South Asian scholars in a webinar on Wednesday underscored the need for making the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) functional and vibrant in order to reap benefits while overcoming the post-Covid-19 challenges in this subcontinent.
They also called for removal of para-tariff and non-tariff barriers to trade by the biggest neighbour, India, to ensure free movement of goods and services.
At the virtual event on 'One South Asia' organised by the World Bank from its headquarters in Washington, the experts discussed 'How can regional cooperation support South Asia's Covid-19 recovery?'
They agreed on a greater regional cooperation for overcoming the post-Covid challenges.
Ambassador Shyam Saran, former foreign secretary of India and currently Senior Fellow of the Centre for Policy Research; Rubana Huq, Managing Director of Mohammadi Group in Bangladesh; Dr. Swarnim Waglé, Chairman of the Institute for Integrated Development Studies (IIDS) and former vice-chair of the National Planning Commission of Nepal; Hartwig Schafer, Vice President, South Asia Region, World Bank Group; and Cecile Fruman, Director, Regional Integration and Engagement, South Asia, WB; took part in the discussion.