India takes over presidency of Saarc business chamber

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    New Delhi, (IANS) India Monday assumed presidency of the business chamber of the eight-member South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) after a gap of 12 years and said it would liberalise business visa norms to boost cross-border trade and investment in the region.

    Vikramjit Singh Sahney, corporate president of Sun Group, took over the presidency of the Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry from Bangladesh’s Annisul Haq for a period of two years.

    After taking over the presidency, Sahney said the chamber would press on member countries to liberalise business visas, trade and investment norms.

    “Cost of trading at the borders in the region is one of the highest in the world. We should work together to reduce it,” said Sahney, who is also a member of the national executive committee of the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (Ficci).

    Ficci represents India in the Saarc Chamber of Commerce and Industry. To mark the occasion, Ficci organised a business summit on the theme titled “building bridges through economic cooperation”.

    Addressing the summit, Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai said India was committed to improving business ties with all the Saarc countries and was taking steps to liberalise business visa regulations.

    “Make Saarc region a magnet of regional cooperation, business and growth. Historical economic integration reinforced by the geographical commonality is a facilitating factor,” said Mathai.

    Besides India, members of Saarc are Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Afghanistan, Bhutan, Maldives and Sri Lanka.