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Why #OneSouthAsia?

Trade

Intraregional trade accounts for barely 5 percent of South Asia's total trade, compared to the ASEAN region where intraregional trade makes up 25 percent. Trade among South Asian countries currently totals just $23 billion -- far below an estimated value of at least $67 billion.

 

Border challenges mean it is about 20 percent cheaper for a company in India to trade with Brazil instead of a neighboring South Asian country. Trade has been limited by several factors such as inadequate road, marine, and air transport. Other constraints include protective tariffs, real and perceived nontariff barriers, restrictions on investments, and a broad trust deficit throughout the region.

 

Our activities support dialogue to build bridges in the region, both figuratively and actual. The World Bank works with a number of partners, including the South Asia Regional Trade Facilitation Program and the Program for Asia Connectivity and Trade, to provide analyses and technical assistance to strengthen trade links. Some activities are listred below.

 

 

Related:

Blog series: Trade in South Asia

 

What's New

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Empowering women to work in trade

Feb 14, 2022 - How can more women enter the labor force in South Asia? Trade offers opportunities for women-run businesses that target value-added exports such as allo fibers and cardamom -- and can pay more than a daily wage.
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E-commerce brings new opportunities for small businesses in South Asia

Feb. 9, 2022 - Some small, family-owned businesses in South Asia are rapidly adopting e-commerce to transcend the constraints of local markets. Access to digital infrastructure and training can help small firms take advantage of online opportunities.
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Intraregional investments create jobs, trade, economic growth

Nov. 22, 2021 - A #OneSouthAsia Conversation explored how policy makers and the private sector can help South Asian companies expand within the region to create jobs and trade. South Asia lags the rest of the world in intraregional investments.
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Lessons for attracting foreign investment to South Asia

July 12, 2021 - Foreign investment is crucial for economic growth in South Asia. The Invest India trade promotion program boosted inflows to a record $64 billion in 2020 despite the pandemic and offers lessons for neighboring nations.
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Policy changes to help women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh

Jan 24, 2021 - Women entrepreneurs in Bangladesh are a potent source of future jobs. But to overcome barriers, women need help accessing bank loans, digital skills, export markets, and other tools. This report recommends ways to support an inclusive economy.
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Publications

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Regional Investment Pioneers in South Asia: The Payoff of Knowing Your Neighbors

Nov. 17, 2021 - To encourage South Asian companies to expand within the region, policy makers can relax restrictions on investments, support cross-border business networking, and adopt electronic trade documentation and border procedures.
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Digital services are key to future jobs -- if policy makers ease protectionism

Oct. 7, 2021 - South Asia's digital and business services offer job growth if countries can attract more foreign direct investment. FDI accounts for only 14% of regional GDP -- vs. a global average of 41% -- due to trade barriers and poor infrastructure.
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Distributional Impacts of Trade: Empirical Innovations, Analytical Tools, and Policy Responses

May 19, 2021 - Trade creates a stronger economy with better jobs -- and winners and losers. Trade benefits can be spread more widely with policies to reduce distortions, make it easier to do business, and help dislocated workers find new jobs.
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Women in Trade: A Spotlight on Eastern South Asia

Jan 24, 2021 - Trade is a powerful tool for BBIN economic growth but women need to benefit to the same extent as men. This report highlights work barriers that women face and sectors with greatest potential for them to find jobs.
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Unleashing e-Commerce for South Asian Integration

Dec 17, 2019 - South Asia lags other regions in activating potential benefits from e-commerce. This report recommends regulatory reforms, such as allowing cross-border payments, streamlining customs, and liberalizing related cross-border logistics services.
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Playing to Strengths : A Policy Framework for Mainstreaming Northeast India

Dec 13, 2019 - India's aim to strengthen prosperity in its North Eastern Region (NER), offers the opportunity to strengthen connectivity with neighboring Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal and allow value chains to scale up.
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Strengthening Cross-Border Value Chains: Opportunities for India and Bangladesh

Dec 13, 2019 - Cross-border value chains in North East India and neighboring Bangladesh could help expand trade for both in fruits and vegetables, spices, bamboo products, and medical-based tourism.
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A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia

Sept. 19, 2018 - Potential trade within South Asia has been held back by tariffs and paratariffs, real and perceived nontariff barriers, connectivity costs, and a lack of trust among neighboring countries.
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VIDEO

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VIDEO Sep 25, 2018

Bringing the people of Bangladesh and India together through border markets

Small markets, or haats, along the Bangladesh and India border recapture the once thriving economic and cultural relationships that existed before national borders were created.

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Cecile Fruman
Director
Regional Integration and Engagement - South Asia
@CFruman