The South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) is an agreement reached on 6 January 2004 at the 12th ASAC Summit in Islamabad, Pakistan. It has created a free trade area of 1.6 billion people in Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka to reduce tariffs on all goods traded by 2016. The SAFTA agreement entered into force on 1 January 2006 and is operational after the ratification of the agreement by the seven governments. SAFTA called on developing countries in South Asia (India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) to reduce their tariffs to 20% during the first phase of the two-year period, until 2007. During the last five-year period, which ended in 2012, the 20% fee was reduced to zero in a series of annual reductions. The least developed countries of South Asia (Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Afghanistan and the Maldives) had an additional three years to reduce tariffs to zero. India and Pakistan ratified the treaty in 2009, while Afghanistan, SAARC`s eighth member state, ratified the SAFTA protocol on 4 May 2011.  The creation of an intergovernmental group (IGG) to develop an agreement for the creation of a ZATA until 1997 was approved at the sixth SAARC summit in Colombo in December 1991. The aim of SAFTA is to promote and increase common contracts between countries, such as medium- and long-term contracts. State-managed trade contracts, the supply and import insurance of certain products, etc. It is an agreement on tariff concessions such as domestic tariff concessions and non-tariff concessions The main objective of the agreement is to promote competition in the region and to provide equitable benefits to the countries concerned.
It must benefit the citizens of countries by bringing transparency and integrity between nations. SAFTA was also created to strengthen the level of trade and economic cooperation between ASARC states by reducing tariffs and trade barriers and to grant specific preferences to least developed countries (LDCs) within SAARC, nations.to create a framework for further regional cooperation.