Addressing Hard and Soft Infrastructure Barriers to Trade in South Asia

Date: February 2013
Type: Papers and Briefs
Series: South Asia Working Papers
Author: Mirza, Tasneem; Bacani, Eleanor


This paper explains hard and soft barriers to trade in South Asia by analyzing transport links and trade facilitation issues. First, the paper examines data on transport networks and trade logistics obtained from national statistics, government agencies, and consultations with private stakeholders and freight forwarders to understand physical barriers to trade in South Asia. Second, this paper estimates trade gains from addressing soft-side issues, including efficiency improvements in the movement of trade cargo. Results indicate that there is considerable opportunity to increase trade flows in South Asia through institutional reforms and by streamlining customs-related processes at borders. With well-targeted investments and strategic implementation of policies, trading partners in the region can realize sufficient gains.


  • Abstract
  • South Asia’s Trade & Transport Logistics
  • Overview
  • An Empirical Analysis of Trade Costs
  • Soft-Side Policy Challenges and Options
  • Conclusion
  • Appendix