Consumers and Economic Cooperation: Cost of Economic Non-cooperation to Consumers in South Asia

Author(s): Bipul Chatterjee and Joseph George

Publisher: CUTS International

Aug 3, 2012

For long, growth through trade meant only an unmindful drive of expanding exports for developing regions across the world including South Asia. They took guard against imports, on the ground of safeguarding domestic industries, without realising growth dividends that imports can deliver and potential gains to consumers. And they failed to bear in mind that in the commercial world which works on reciprocity, export ooportunities will remain out of reach without matching import concessions.

South Asian aspiration on regional economic cooperation remains as a hope because of sheer neglect of the import side of trade, though institutional and legal mechanisms exist to facilitate the same. The book enquires into consumer's gains from intra-regional  trade and found that a bare minimum of about US$1.9bn per annum van be saved by the region by applying pereferential tariff rates on saved through simple trade facilitating measures. These figures are just a tip of the iceberg, considering the business growth waiting to be unleashed following trade reforms.

This publication offers new insights into simple ways in which South Asian countries can harness the benefits of imports by relying on each other's exports compentencies. They would only be required to re-source their current costlier imports from rest of the world with cheaper alernatives available in the neighbourhood, with no risk to domestic industries. As the prospect of making new inroad into regional markets through a more open trade regime increases, producers will have reasons to cheer.

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