Regional Agricultural Trade Liberalization Efforts in South Asia: Retrospect and Prospects
The changes in economic polices in 1980s and early 1990s in South Asian Economies (SAEs), which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, were not successful in completely reforming protectionist policies. Relatively higher tariff rates on agricultural commodities remained one of the features of trade regimes. However, the institutional developments related to trade policy have paved the way to some liberalization of agricultural trade. All the SAEs, except Bhutan, are members of the WTO and their involvement in regional trading arrangements has rapidly expanded during the ten years (1995-2004) following the establishment of the WTO. In that context, this brief discusses the regional agricultural trade liberalization efforts in SAEs, highlighting the factors which hampered it and outlining prospects for a more effective liberalization.