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Regional integration in South Asia : what role for trade facilitation ?

  • Wilson, John S.
  • Otsuki, Tsunehiro

The trade performance of countries in South Asia over the past two decades has been poor relative to other regions. Exports from South Asia have doubled over the past 20 years to approximately USD 100 billion. In contrast, East Asia's exports grew ten times over the same period. The low level of intraregional trade has contributed to weak export performance in South Asia. The empirical analysis in this paper demonstrates gains to trade in the region from reform and capacity building in trade facilitation at the regional level. When considering intraregional trade, if countries in South Asia raise capacity halfway to East Asia's average, trade is estimated to rise by USD 2.6 billion. This is approximately 60 percent of the total intraregional trade in South Asia. Countries in the region also have a stake in the success of efforts to promote capacity building outside its borders. If South Asia and the rest of the world were to raise their levels of trade facilitation halfway to the East Asian average, the gains to the region would be estimated at USD 36 billion. Out of those gains, about 87 percent of the total would be generated from South Asia's own efforts (leaving the rest of the world unchanged). In summary, we find that the South Asian region's expansion of trade can be substantially advanced with programs of concrete action to address barriers to trade facilitation to advance regional goals.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 4423.

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Date of creation: 01 Dec 2007
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Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:4423
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  1. Ximena Clark & David Dollar & Alejandro Micco, 2004. "Port Efficiency, Maritime Transport Costs and Bilateral Trade," NBER Working Papers 10353, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Tsunehiro Otsuki & John S. Wilson, 2001. "What price precaution? European harmonisation of aflatoxin regulations and African groundnut exports," European Review of Agricultural Economics, Foundation for the European Review of Agricultural Economics, vol. 28(3), pages 263-284, October.
  3. Peter Walkenhorst & Tadashi Yasui, 2004. "Quantitative Assessment of the Benefits of Trade Facilitation," International Trade 0401008, EconWPA.
  4. Damodaran, A., 2002. "Conflict of Trade-Facilitating Environmental Regulations with Biodiversity Concerns: The Case of Coffee-Farming Units in India," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 30(7), pages 1123-1135, July.
  5. Wilson, John S. & Mann, Catherine L. & Otsuki, Tsunehiro, 2004. "Assessing the potential benefit of trade facilitation : A global perspective," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3224, The World Bank.
  6. Baier, Scott L. & Bergstrand, Jeffrey H., 2001. "The growth of world trade: tariffs, transport costs, and income similarity," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 53(1), pages 1-27, February.
  7. Maskus, Keith E. & Wilson, John S. & Tsunehiro Otsuki, 2000. "Quantifying the impact of technical barriers to trade : a framework for analysis," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2512, The World Bank.
  8. Caroline L. Freund & Diana Weinhold, 2000. "On the effect of the Internet on international trade," International Finance Discussion Papers 693, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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