SAFTA and the South Asian Countries: Quantitative Assessments of Potential Implications
This paper has examined the implications of SAFTA for the South Asian countries. In doing so it has reviewed the pattern of intra-regional trade in South Asia. The paper has reviewed a number of studies which conducted qualitative and quantitative assessments of SAFTA. Using the global general equilibrium model the paper has also explored the welfare implications of tariff liberalisation under SAFTA and increased trade facilitation in South Asia. The simulation results suggest that the gains from trade facilitation in South Asia are much higher than the gains from mere reduction in tariff in goods. Therefore, in order to make SAFTA effective, trade liberalization is a necessary condition, but not a sufficient one. Utmost priority should be given to developing trade infrastructure facilities (hardware) and trade facilitation (software).
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