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Regional Trade Integration in South Asia: Rationale, Impediments and the Way Forward

regional trade south asia

Like others, the South Asian developing economies are opening up with a view to accelerating their economic growth through greater trade and investment. In this context, a major initiative is the signing of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) among the seven Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. As implementation of SAFTA began on 1 July 2006, this policy brief underlines the importance of regional trade integration in South Asia as elsewhere, spells out the factors which have so far hampered trade cooperation in the region, and outlines trade policy measures that will contribute to greater economic integration in South Asia.

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