(More on Trade »)Challenges
• The cost of trading across borders in South Asia is one of the highest in the world.
• South Asian countries have maintained a higher level of protection within the region than with the rest of the world.
• Intraregional trade is less than 2% of GDP, compared to more than 20% for East Asia.
• It takes on average more than 33 days to export from South Asia compared to 12 days from OECD countries and more than 46 days to import into South Asia compared to 14 days for OECD.
• South Asian exports lacks diversity in terms of products and markets.
• The import-substitution policies of South Asia worked toward limiting not just total trade but in some ways asymmetrically toward limiting intraregional trade.
• With the possible exception of Sri Lanka that had undertaken significant liberalization in the late 1970s, anti-trade policies remained dominant in the region for nearly four decades.
• In the case of India and Pakistan, political tensions virtually closed official international trade between them.