Policies to Enhance Trade Facilitation in South Asia and Southeast Asia
This paper discusses trade facilitation in the context of enhancing trading links between South and Southeast Asia, in a manner understandable to the non-specialist. Presently, these two Asian regions tend to trade preferentially with distant markets. One of the reasons cited for the limited trade between themselves is that trade facilitation with trade partners in developed countries is more user friendly and stable. This suggests that enhancing trade facilitation within the two regions could promote intra- and inter-regional trade. The paper identifies the scope of trade facilitation and profiles the current overall situation in the two regions. It highlights the key issues and constraints, often referred to as non-trade barriers, in terms of both "soft" and "hard" infrastructure, and highlights ongoing initiatives designed to promote change, especially through the application of new approaches and procedures. Lastly, the paper concludes by discussing the key regional trade facilitation issues and proposing recommendations to eliminate these non-trade barriers that are adversely impacting on trade within and between these regions.