SAARC Committee of Economic Co-operation (CEC) meeting held in Maldives.
The 15th meeting of the SAARC Committee of Economic Co-operation (CEC) is being held in Male from the 15 -16th of July 2012. The meeting is being attended by the Commerce Secretaries and other senior officials of all 8 member governments and is being convened after a break of more than three years.
The meeting was officially opened by the Minister of Economic Development Hon. Ahmed Mohamed. In his opening remarks, the Minister reaffirmed, to the other SAARC members, Maldives commitment to work towards a greater economic integration within the region, which he emphasized, will provide avenues for businesses to benefit from larger integrated markets and provide greater opportunities for consumers, in the region.
The Secretary General of SAARC, H.E Ahmed Saleem also spoke in the opening session and alluded to the important role assigned to the Committee in shaping the SAARC economic agenda and urged the delegates to make use of the opportunity to consider proposals for greater economic integration and co-operation.
The Committee, a high level body, established within the South Asian Free Trade Agreements SAFTA is mandated to review the progress of work under the (SAFTA) and to propose new initiatives/ programs for deeper economic and trade integration within the SAARC region.
The Committee, besides following progress on current initiatives, aimed at freer flow of goods and services within the SAARC region, considered new ways for deeper integration, in view of the findings of an ongoing study if the region, financed by the Asian Development Bank. In the deliberations held on the first day of the meeting, the Committee considered, amongst other things, a proposal by the Government of Maldives, for expanding the scope of the current Agreement on Avoidance of Double Taxation within the SAARC countries, and recommended that a detailed proposal from the Maldives be presented to the SAARC Secretariat for the consideration of member governments, in the upcoming meeting of competent authorities on tax matters, later this year.
As per SAARC practice, this meeting is being chaired by the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Economic Development, Mr. Yusuf Riza, as the host country.