Sector Update

Immense Potential for intra-SAARC Trade
In an article featured on the “Opinion” page in the Business Standard dated 13 November 2011, Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII, highlights the immense potential for intra-SAARC trade. Economic cooperation is an acknowledged tool for regional prosperity. However, intra-regional trade in the region, notes the author, which has one-fifth of the world’s population, and is home to two-fifths of the world’s poor, has stagnated at around 5 per cent of total trade, compared to over 50 per cent in East Asia and around 20 per cent in Latin America, and even lower than Sub-Saharan Africa! Despite the existence of bilateral and sub-regional trading agreements between various member countries, the prevailing plethora of tariff and non-tariff barriers greatly inhibits trade and investments in the region. India, as the largest economy of the region, has a special responsibility in increasing intra-regional economic integration, states the author. He lists three areas with large potential for economic cooperation - the services trade, with focus on healthcare, education and tourism; energy cooperation; and logistical connectivity. Private sector connectivity too must be systematically encouraged, states the author, suggesting that the SAARC Summit process should include a parallel business conference for linking business communities.

Chandrajit Banerjee
[Director General]
DG's Office (DGOF)
Confederation of Indian Industry
CII Central Office
Mantosh Sondhi Centre
23 Institutional Area
Lodi Road
New Delhi
Phone : 91-11-24629994 - 7
Fax :91-11-2462 6149
Email : cb@cii.in