Research Team: Nisha Taneja, Shravani Prakash, Rashmi Rastogi (ICRIER), Shaheen Rafi Khan, Chinpal Rauniar, Mohammed Rahmatullah, Amal S. Kumarage, N. C. Magedaragamage, Nilanjan Banik, Parthapratim Pal, Sanjib Pohit, Gurudas Das, and Aparna Sawhney (External C)
Commencement: January 2009
Completion: January 2011
Funded by: DHL India Private Limited, 2 years Despite substantial tariff reductions in the South Asian region, intra-SAARC trade continues to be about 5 per cent of the region’s trade. Recognising that improved trade facilitation can significantly contribute to gains in intra-SAARC trade, this project identifies impediments to intra-regional trade related to transport and logistics, customs, trade and transport regulatory regimes, business mobility and security and suggests trade-facilitating measures that can enhance intra-SAARC trade. The study has been carried out through a primary survey in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Pakistan and Nepal. A network of external consultants, consisting of 11 experts from the region, had undertaken different national components of the study. A common questionnaire prepared in consultation with experts has been canvassed in the region. The analysis indicates that though all South Asian countries have undertaken trade facilitation measures in recent years, these have helped only in reducing transaction costs for trading with the rest of the world but not for intra-SAARC trading. Transaction costs at the land borders are higher than those at seaports. The study also indicates that the trade impeding factors vary across different land borders that India shares with its neighbouring countries with the least number of impediments being on the Indo-Nepal border and the most at the India-Pakistan border. The study suggests measures that countries can undertake immediately and long-term measures that can be prioritised and implemented in a phased manner.