Sri Lanka summit to consider trade, food security moves

July 22, 2008 (LBO) – South Asian leaders holding a summit in the Sri Lankan capital Colombo next months will consider setting up common standards for goods made in the region as well as a food crisis fund and buffer stocks, a senior official said. Foreign Affairs Minister Rohitha Bogollagama said south Asian leaders are expected to sign an agreement on a common standard for all goods made in the region when they meet during August 2-3.

Leaders of the South Asian Association for Regional Co-operation will also sign an agreement to set up a SAARC development fund of over 300 million dollars.

Member countries have contributed 207 million dollars to the fund on the basis of a ratio for each country while India will top up the fund with an additional 100 million dollars.

Bogollagama said the leaders would also consider a proposal made by Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa for a regional buffer stock of food that member countries would be able to use in times of emergency.

They would also discuss setting up a SAARC food crisis fund so that any country affected by food a crisis will be able to have the benefit of a relief fund.

This was important to be able to cope with shocks like the present increases in fuel and food price