Realizing the important role of Chamber organizations in the trade facilitation, The SAARC TPN has formed the exclusive working group Regional Trade Facilitation (WG RTF) with member’s representation from the Federation chambers and trade bodies from the SAARC member states. The focus area of the WG RTF is in understanding the trade barriers, mainly on the Non Tariff Measures and proposes the respective government to look at the possible solutions.
Through such initiative of Chambers, it is expected the concern agencies respond to reducing /eliminating of existing non-tariff barriers (NTBs), para-tariff barriers (PTBs), and procedural obstacles arising from the non-tariff measures in SAARC region.
As a part of the responsibility of WG RTF, an inclusive study on the prevailing NTMs in the SAARC region was previously conducted by Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Dhaka (MCCI) together with South Asian Network on Economic Modeling (SANEM), on behalf of SAARC-TPN. The report “NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis” was published in 2014 and was officially launched in July in Thimphu, prior to the meeting of the SAFTA Committee of Experts on NTMS. The NTM report along with the set of recommendations was submitted to 9th Committee of Experts meeting, SAFTA on 22-23rd July 2014 at Thimphu, Bhutan for necessary action.
After a successful pilot phase, during the 4th meeting of the WG-RTF of SAARC Trade Promotion Network (SAARC-TPN) held in Thimphu, on July 2014 decided to replicate specialized desks in remaining SAARC countries .As of March 2016, 7 NTM desks are operating in 7 SAARC countries (all except Maldives).
NTM Desk at BCCI
With the support of ‘German International Development Cooperation (GIZ), the Working Group for Regional Trade Facilitation (WG-RTF) of the SAARC Trade Promotion Network (TPN) has established an ‘NTM Desk’ in Bhutan Chamber of Commerce & Industry (BCCI).
The purpose of NTM-Desk is to establish a sustainable mechanism for regular monitoring and reporting of NTMs in the SAARC region, and use the information as the basis of lobbying and advocacy for reduction and elimination of NTMs in the countries and in region. This desk will be helpful in timely decision and identification of NTMs and the problems which are being faced by Bhutanese exporters/Importers in SAARC countries.