A video conference of senior trade officials of all SAARC countries was held yesterday to discuss the impact of travel restrictions and the larger Covid-19 situation on intra-regional trade. This was a follow up action of the announcement made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Video Conference of SAARC Leaders on 15th of March.

External Affairs Ministry said in a release that all SAARC countries, except Pakistan, participated in the video conference. All countries contributed actively to the discussions on a wide-ranging trade related agenda. It was recognized that the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to have a considerable adverse impact on trade in the SAARC region. It was stressed that new ways and means be jointly identified to sustain and expand the intra-regional trade until the normal trade channels are fully restored. The need to maintain essential trade within the SAARC region was viewed as an important thrust area.

All participating countries proposed to remain in close and regular touch through a designated focal point in each country. The Indian side offered to coordinate this exercise.

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