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Regional Economic Integration in South Asia : Prospects and Challenges


  • Ram Upendra Das



Realizing its importance, the South Asian region has also embarked upon various processes of regional economic integration. However, the South Asian regional integration process is fraught with difficulties, especially due to a lack of understanding about the very economics of regional economic integration. Thus, this paper dwells upon some of the conceptual issues pertaining to regional economic cooperation in general and specific to the South Asian region. It also documents the progress made in SAARC, the SAFTA trade liberalization and associated mechanisms alongside the nature of safeguards provided for. In this respect, developmental perspectives of safeguards are put forth. Some fresh insights on the status of SAARC trade integration process in a dynamic setting are also brought out. The paper also highlights the potentials for deeper economic integration in the region. The paper further illustrates some of the areas wherein project-based cooperation is feasible in the region. Finally, the paper makes an objective assessment of the regional integration process and identifies certain policy-induced and structural constraints that have important policy-implications.

Suggested Citation

  • Ram Upendra Das, 2009. "Regional Economic Integration in South Asia : Prospects and Challenges," Macroeconomics Working Papers 22987, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  • Handle: RePEc:eab:macroe:22987

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Martin, Philippe & Ottaviano, Gianmarco I P, 2001. "Growth and Agglomeration," International Economic Review, Department of Economics, University of Pennsylvania and Osaka University Institute of Social and Economic Research Association, vol. 42(4), pages 947-968, November.
    2. Hoekman, Bernard & Konan, Denise, 1999. "Deep Integration, Non-Discrimination and Euro-Mediterranean Free Trade," CEPR Discussion Papers 2095, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    3. Konan, Denise Eby & Maskus, Keith E., 2006. "Quantifying the impact of services liberalization in a developing country," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 81(1), pages 142-162, October.
    4. Nagesh Kumar, 2007. "Investment Provisions in Regional Trading Arrangements in Asia : Relevance, Emerging Trends, and Policy Implications," Trade Working Papers 22109, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
    5. Nagesh Kumar, 1998. "Multinational enterprises, regional economic integration, and export-platform production in the host countries: An empirical analysis for the US and Japanese corporations," Review of World Economics (Weltwirtschaftliches Archiv), Springer;Institut für Weltwirtschaft (Kiel Institute for the World Economy), vol. 134(3), pages 450-483, September.
    6. Ram Upendra Das & Ramaa Sambamurty, 2006. "Addressing Global Growth Asymmetries through Regional Trade Integration : Some Explorations," Trade Working Papers 22095, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
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    More about this item


    Regional Economic Integration; Regional Integration; South Asia; intra regional FDI; extra regional FDI;

    JEL classification:

    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration
    • F21 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - International Investment; Long-Term Capital Movements
    • F23 - International Economics - - International Factor Movements and International Business - - - Multinational Firms; International Business


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