The 62nd EC Meeting and the 20th General Assembly Meeting

The 62nd Executive Committee & the 20th General Assembly meeting of SAARC CCI was held in a joint session on March 10, 2015 at New Delhi, Republic of India. The meeting was hosted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI). Executive and General Assembly members of SAARC CCI representing National Chambers/Federations from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka attended the meeting.


Dr. Jyotsna Suri, President, FICCI hosted a welcome dinner in honor of SAARC CCI delegates on March 29, which was also attended by the representatives from diplomatic missions from South Asian countries.

Prior to Executive Committee & General Assembly Meetings, the senior vice President, Mr. Suraj Vaidya, convened meeting of the Vice Presidents to informally discuss agenda of the meeting. Immediate Past president and Chair of Advisory Council also attended the meeting. Before, the official meeting of EC and GA in a closed session, inaugural and open sessions were also held.

Inaugural Session:
The Inaugural session commenced with welcome remarks of Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Senior Member of FICCI’s National Executive Committee, Immediate Past President and the Chair Advisory Council, SAARC CCI followed by Keynote address by Chief Guest Hon’ble Gen. (DR) V.K. Singh (RETD), State Minister of External Affairs, India.

The Chief Guest in his inaugural address stated that SAARC is a region of focus by current leadership of India under doctrine of Prime Minister Modi and  this an opportunity for all of us to create an environment where Trade & Industry can grow and prosper. He said that Trade and Industry have no barrier and the barriers, which SAARC family has been facing were due the restrictions imposed by Individual countries. He was of the opinion that trade and Industry don’t have  borders. He said that each member nation of SAARC has the responsibility to ensure an environment where trade and industry could flourish to the optimum level. If we are able to create such environment them we can truly integrate Trade and Commerce in regional perimeter. He further added that SAARC had the potential to become the economic power house of the world and now it was shared responsibility to find out the ways to achieve that goal. He was of the strong opinion that regional integration was  in our mutual interest and anything in our mutual interest must be given priority.

Prior to that, Mr. Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Immediate past President and Chair of Advisory Council in his welcome remarks thanked the Hon’able Minister for gracing the occasion. He expressed firm commitment of the business community to enhance South Asian intraregional connectivity. He requested Hon’ble Minister to pursue the matter of SAARC Traveler Business passes as stated by Prime Minister of India in his address at 18th SAARC Summit.  He once again urged upon Hon’able Minister to help increase SAARC visa Exemption stickers from 200 to 1000 for bona-fide businessman with validity of one year. He also urged the South Asian government for the speedy implementation of SAFTA in true spirit.

Dr. Ronald Meinardus, Regional Director Friedrich Naumann Foundation (FNF), while wishing the success meeting to SAARC CCI members, said that he was happy to witness the working of SAARC CCI as a successful family of South Asia. He added that economic freedom, rule of law and peace were required key factor to attract investment in South Asia and appreciated the role of Private for adding voice to promote trade liberalisation in South Asia.

Mr. Suraj Vaidya, Snr Vice President, SAARC CCI in his concluding remarks said that recent deliberations took place in Kathmandu clearly reflected the sense of frustration regarding potential we have but unfortunately could not do enough. He said that it is highly time that we, the private sector of South Asia, should play more proactive role to promote business and deepen regional integration of South Asia. He added that the Private Sector was confident that political leadership would give serious thought to implement Kathmandu Deceleration of the SAARC Summit and assured that Private Sector would make best possible efforts towards achieving economic targets.

Open Session:
The inaugural session was followed by open session, which was addressed by Ms. L. Savithri, Director, SAARC Secretariat, Ms. Archana Jatkar Coordinator & Deputy Head, CUTS Centre for International Trade, Economics & Environment (CUTS CITEE) and by Mr. Basanta Raj Shrestha, Director of Strategic Cooperation, ICIMOD.  

Ms. L Savithri, urged upon the need for developing regional thoughts in addition to bilateral initiatives. She was of the opinion that SAARC provided institutional frame work, which can lead to regional integration. She apprised that various SAARC official preparatory meetings have been scheduled for this year and SAARC CCI may capitalize this opportunity to present view point of the Private Sector in terms of policy advocacy during the deliberations.

The presentation made by representative of CUTTS, International updated the members about trade and investment climate in South Asia while presentation made by  ICIMOD on Climate change issues unveiled challenges and opportunities emerging out from climate change.   
 
The open session was concluded with lunch hosted by Mr. Ramesh Kumar Mutha, Vice President SAARC CCI (India) and MD-Mohan Mutha Group- India.

Close Session:
The formal Executive Committee & General Assembly Meeting of SAARC CCI was held in joint session under the chair of Mr. Suraj Vaidya, Snr Vice President, SAARC CCI.  The  joint session of the EC and GA reviewed the performance of  SAARC CCI in the year 2014 and made a firm Action plan for the year 2015 to further activate the organization. To address the contemporary and emerging challenges, the members proposed amendment in the constitution, sectoral development, promotion of investment and trade by undertaking measures in line with economic decisions taken in the 18th SAARC Summit.

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