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Consider the following agreements :

I. ISLFTA (India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement)

II. SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area)

III. CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperations Agreement betweenIndia and Singapore)

IV. SAPTA (South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement)

Which one of the following is the correct chronological order of the above agreements?


1. I-III-II-IV
2. IV-I-II-III
3. II-I-IV-III
4. I-II-III-IV

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Best answer
Correct Answer - Option 2 : IV-I-II-III

The correct answer is IV-I-II-III.

  • The correct chronological order of the above agreements:
    • 1. SAPTA (South Asian Preferential Trade Arrangement) - 1995
    • 2. ISLFTA (India-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement) - 1998
    • 3. SAFTA (South Asian Free Trade Area) - 2004
    • 4. CECA (Comprehensive Economic Cooperations Agreement between India and Singapore) - 2005

  •  ISLFTA:
    • The Indo-Sri Lanka Free Trade Agreement (ISFTA), which was signed on 28th December 1998 and entered into force with effect from 1st March 2000, provides duty-free concessions to a wide range of products traded between the two countries.
    • Sri Lanka’s final tariff liberalization commitment under ISFTA came into effect in November 2008 and with this completion of the commitment, the ISFTA which came into effect from March 2000 has been fully implemented.
    • However, Sri Lanka has already got full duty free access to the vast Indian market under the ISFTA since the end of March 2003.
  • SAFTA:
    • The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is the free trade arrangement of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC).
    • The agreement came into force in 2006, succeeding the 1993 SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement. SAFTA signatory countries are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
  • CECA:
    • The India–Singapore Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement, also known as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement or simply CECA.
    • It is a free trade agreement between Singapore and India to strengthen bilateral trade.
    • It was signed on 29 June 2005.
  • SAPTA:
    • The SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) reflected the desire of the Member States to promote and sustain mutual trade and economic cooperation within the SAARC region through the exchange of tariff concessions. 
    • The idea of liberalizing trade among SAARC countries was first mooted by Sri Lanka at the sixth Summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation (SAARC) held in Colombo in December 1991.
    • Four rounds of negotiations were held under SAPTA.
    • SAPTA was envisaged primarily as the first step towards the transition to a South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) leading subsequently towards a Customs Union.

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