In 2011, with support
from The Asia Foundation and in partnership with a group of
like-minded organisations, CUTS International implemented a
Cost of Economic Non-Cooperation to Consumers in South Asia
(COENCOSA). The study highlighted the gains that would
accrue to consumers of five South Asian countries (viz.
Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka) from
enhanced regional trade integration. While total static gain
would be more than US$ 2 billion per year, dynamic gains would
be much higher.
CUTS International and
its partners along with the representatives of The Asia
Foundation met in Kathmandu on 4th February, 2012, to discuss
the contour of future interventions for removing regional
trade barriers in South Asia. It was decided that other than
raising awareness on the results of the existing study, future
activities would focus on specific customs-related and/or
other procedural non-tariff barriers faced by some specific
commodities which are traded between India and other countries
of the South Asia region. It was also decided that the core of
the future activities would be result- and action-oriented so
as to ensure some tangible and incremental progress towards
reducing the cost of doing trade within the region. One of the
outcomes of the project is the initiation of a regional
network of stakeholders dealing with procedural and other
non-tariff barriers affecting regional in South Asia.
Furthermore, it was decided that similar issues would be
identified across countries in order to make the project-related
activities more effective. Accordingly, CUTS International and
its partners decided to focus on customs-related and procedural
non-tariff barriers which constitute a significant part of the
cost of doing trade within the South Asian region.
To take forward the
agenda of regional economic cooperation in South Asia, a
project entitled Promoting Participatory Approaches for
Removing Regional Trade Barriers in South Asia (COENCOSA Phase
II) was initiated. The duration of this project is 10 months –
June 2012 to March 2013.