South Asia Agreement On Trade In Services

Strengthening trade in the South Asian region is not only economically beneficial, but also strategic for India`s integration into the global economy. Regional integration in South Asia requires the fight against several NB and a further reduction of the “sensitive lists” held by countries in order to ensure the effectiveness of trade agreements. In addition, good practices in other regions need to be adapted to the South Asian context to facilitate the removal of trade barriers. For example, sub-Saharan Africa has approached NB through an online mechanism of national monitoring committees in each country to facilitate the removal of reported trade barriers. [14] India and its neighbours need stronger political will to address trade barriers in the region, particularly after the COVID 19 crisis, which could lead to a new wave of protectionist measures. [15] Over the past three decades, the services sector has grown in South Asian countries. In addition to growth, liberalization of services has become a critical economic agenda for these economies. Some of their service sectors have been liberalized as part of their GATS commitment. As part of the GATS tendering process, requests have been made by other developing and industrialized countries for the opening of services in South Asian countries.

They have also taken steps to unilaterally liberalize the sector. South Asian countries have also taken initiatives to liberalize trade in services between them. The most recent development of this initiative is the South Asian Trade in Services Agreement (SATIS) in 2010. This paper addresses the main issues related to the liberalization of trade in services in South Asia. Improved cross-border infrastructure, such as integrated checkpoints (IDPs), road, air and rail links, is essential to facilitate trade in the region. Improved infrastructure will improve connectivity and strengthen production networks and value chains in the region. Over the past decade, several measures have been taken to improve infrastructure, including the modernization of land customs posts to ICPs, the development of rail networks such as the Agartala-Akhaura rail link (Bangladesh) and the Jogbani-Biratnagar railway line (Nepal) or the opening of the second border checkpoint between India and Myanmar (Zokhawthar-Rikhawdar). Such improvements in cross-border connectivity are the best incentives to boost intra-regional trade.

Indian exports account for the bulk of its trade with its neighbours (Figure 1). The growth of the country`s regional trade between 1991 and 1999 was minimal. In 2008, India`s trade with N8`s neighbours reached a decadent $13.45 billion level. After a fall in 2009 due to the global financial crisis, India`s trade with its neighbours doubled over the next five years to $24.69 billion in 2014. The slowdown in India`s exports to South Asia in 2015 and 2016 coincided with a 13% decline in India`s world trade from $19 trillion in 2014 to $16.5 trillion in 2015. [6] Intra-regional trade recovered in 2017 and peaked at $24.75 billion and continued to grow in 2018, rising to $36 billion. RECALLING Articles 4 and 8, paragraph 3, of the framework agreement on the conclusion, as soon as possible, negotiations on the Trade in Services Agreement, to liberalize and phase out all discrimination and/or bans on new or discriminatory measures related to trade in services between the contracting parties and to broaden the depth and scope of trade, with a broad sectoral scope, beyond the effects achieved by ASEAN Member States and China within the framework of the World Trade Organization (WTO); Improved intra-regional trade is needed to improve connectivity in the South Asian region.