South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation
In the Spotlight
From 2014 to 2018, the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation program will focus on five priority areas in improving trade facilitation efficiency: customs modernization and harmonization; standards and conformity assessment strengthening; cross-border facilities improvement; through transport facilitation; and institution and capacity building. Download the document.
Asia is set to become increasingly integrated as governments bolster trade and transport connections and build regional institutions, such as free trade agreements, regional bond market arrangements, and financial safety nets, says the latest report.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao welcomed Bhutan's Prime Minister Tshering Tobgay to ADB's headquarters in Manila, Philippines on 5 September 2014. During the visit, a loan and a grant agreement was signed for a $69 million South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Project.
ADB President Takehiko Nakao met with India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Delhi on 27 August 2014. ADB will help India accelerate infrastructure development, boost manufacturing, improve the skills of young people to enhance their employability, expand trade through regional cooperation, and promote private sector activities.
The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, the Maldives, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in a project-based partnership that aims to promote regional prosperity, improve economic opportunities, and build a better quality of life for the people of the subregion. SASEC countries share a common vision of boosting intraregional trade and cooperation in South Asia, while also connecting to Southeast Asia through Myanmar, to the People’s Republic of China and the global market.
Improving trade and energy security
SASEC seeks to strengthen multimodal cross-border transport networks that boost intraregional trade and open up trade opportunities with East and Southeast Asia. The program helps build modern and effective customs administrations that speed up the time and reduce the costs of moving goods, vehicles, and people across borders. Better connectivity will help unleash the tremendous potential for mutually beneficial trade between the six SASEC countries, which remain some of the least economically integrated in the world.
SASEC also assists member countries in improving energy security by developing infrastructure and promoting intraregional power trade to reduce costs and import dependence.
More than a decade of cooperation
SASEC members gather regularly to discuss and address shared interests, creating support and ownership for the program at the policy level as well as practical collaboration at the technical working level. Over a decade of successful cooperation has built confidence and mutual trust through various discussion platforms that decide on coordinated actions for the benefit of all. ADB serves as the SASEC Secretariat.
Since 2001, SASEC countries have implemented 33 regional projects worth more than $6 billion in the energy, transport, trade facilitation, and information and communications technology sectors.