South Asian nations - Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives - will now be bound by the South Asian Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) which is to come into force from December 7. The agreement will allow concessional trade among the seven members. "Arrangements like SAPTA are crucial for the success of a regional forum to promote coo tion in core economic areas and trade," states Yadav Silwal, secretary-general, SAARC.

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