Why is Nepal in SAARC

Promotion of intra-regional trade potential in the SAARC region

Brief description of the project

Description: Promotion of intra-regional trade potential in the SAARC region (SAARC Trade Promotion Network, SAARC-TPN)
Client: Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)
Country: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka
Lead executing agency: Secretariat of the South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) in Nepal
Total duration: 2014 to 2016

initial situation

The South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) was founded in 1985 with the aim of promoting social and economic development within and between member states. The SAARC area includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Pakistan, Sri Lanka and the Maldives. Around a quarter of the world's population lives in this region, but less than two percent of the world's gross national product is generated there.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) strengthen the region's economic performance and can make a decisive contribution to reducing poverty by creating employment and income opportunities. At present, however, inadequate competencies and poor performance of central trade-relevant actors in the private and public sectors prevent the creation of acceptable conditions for intra-regional trade.

The SAARC Trade Promotion Network (SAARC-TPN) comprises 27 public and private institutions from the eight countries of the SAARC region. TPN members from the public sector are primarily the national ministries of trade or the trade affairs units of the ministries of economics and institutions that promote trade and export. Members of the network from the private sector are regional and national corporate affiliates. These chambers and associations are the leading economic organizations in their countries.


The non-tariff measures and barriers to the development of selected cross-border value chains in the SAARC region have been reduced.


On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the project strengthens the SAARC Trade Promotion Network (SAARC-TPN) and its four working groups - promoting regional trade; Quality infrastructure; small and medium-sized enterprises and personnel development - in the areas of strategic management and organizational development. The communication and the exchange of information between the network members as well as the ability to prioritize measures to remove trade barriers, to moderate complex negotiation processes to develop solutions and to convincingly represent the interests of the network are promoted.

The project strengthens the individual and institutional competencies of the members of the SAARC-TPN and encourages the network to participate in the formal and content-related design of trade-relevant regional agreements by the SAARC decision-making bodies. It also supports the introduction and application of new approaches to facilitate and promote trade relations. And finally, the project promotes the development of know-how and resources that the SAARC-TPN needs to monitor the progress and effects of measures to promote cross-border trade in South Asia.