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Regional Integration in South Asia

Trends, Challenges and Prospects

image of Regional Integration in South Asia

Regional Integration in South Asia: Trends, Challenges and Prospects presents an objective assessment of trade and economic co-operation among South Asian nations and highlights policy issues to foster regional integration. The analyses presented in this volume go beyond the usual discussions on trade-in-goods to provide insightful perspectives on potential new areas of co-operation, emerging challenges, and country-specific views on regional and bilateral trade co-operation issues.

Written by influential analysts and researchers, the volume’s 24 chapters include perspectives from Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka, and examinations of new areas of co-operation such as investment, regional supply chains, energy and cross-border transport networks.

English

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The Cost of Economic Non-Co-operation in South Asia

One of the major hurdles in the South Asian trade liberalisation process has been hesitancy on the part of countries from the region to subject sectors/products of high intra-regional trade potential to the Trade Liberalization Programme (TLP) under the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) agreement. This has caused a high cost to consumers in South Asia in terms of avoidable high prices on imported goods which could have been sourced from regional trading partners at considerably lower prices. Loss of consumer welfare owing to lack of depth in intra-regional trade and non-co-operative economic relations has not been hitherto subjected to thorough research. This chapter carries out a quantitative assessment of potential consumer welfare gains from deeper trade integration in South Asia and presents the results of a perception survey analysis on the views of key stakeholders on the relevance of consumer welfare in trade discourse. The results of the quantitative assessment show that minimum static annual consumer welfare gains of US$1.9 billion could be realised from enhanced regional trade. The general perception of stakeholders is that bringing in consumer welfare aspects of trade will help to rebalance the SAFTA negotiations and, towards this goal, initiatives for awareness generation and networking among various stakeholder groups is of utmost importance.

English

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