All countries in the region stand to gain from increasing trade cooperation. (Representational)
India has the potential to more than triple its trade with its South Asian neighbours to $62 billion against its actual trade of $19 billion, said a World Bank report released in Kolkata on Monday.
“A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia” pointed out that intra-regional trade in South Asia falls short of its potential because of significant barriers, including tariff, para-tariff barriers, non-tariff barriers and trust deficit among the countries in the region.
The report estimates “India’s potential trade in goods with South Asia at $62 billion against its actual trade of $19 billion, which is a mere three per cent of its global trade and about $43 billion below its potential”.
According to it, all the countries in the region stand to gain from increasing trade cooperation.
For India, the deeper regional trade and connectivity could reduce the isolation of Northeast India, give Indian firms better access to markets of South and East Asia and allow it to substitute fossil fuels by cleaner hydro-power from Nepal and Bhutan.
“Given its complicated history, size asymmetries, and a trust deficit, small steps backed by policy persistence is probably the right way to go for South…