The last decennaries have seen a dramatic rise in the figure of Preferential Trade Agreements ( PTAs ) . South Asia has been a latecomer in this regard and the member states of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC ) have merely comparatively late established a free trade country, the South Asian Free Trade Area ( SAFTA )[ 1 ]. While its creative activity engendered enthusiasm and member states have recently agreed to work towards set uping an economic brotherhood, the cumbrous development of SAFTA besides illustrates the troubles for economic integrating in the part. Against this disagreement between declared purposes and ascertained worlds, this paper seeks to set up if there is a principle for a Regional Trade Agreement ( RTA ) in South Asia and how SAFTA could travel beyond being a paper tiger. It will be argued that SAFTA ‘s viability is determined by strategic and political motivations instead than economic factors and that its possible hereafter success crucially depends on India ‘s capacity and willingness to move as a driver of regional integrating.
In replying the research inquiry both economic and political motivations for regional integrating will be taken into history. In order to measure the economic desirableness of a discriminatory trading understanding in South Asia, this paper will pull on the constructs of trade creative activity and trade recreation. As such an analysis shows that economic additions from SAFTA are presently at best modest, the analysis will later turn to non-traditional economic and political additions from regional integrating. After exemplifying that there are possible political and strategic benefits accruing from SAFTA, the focal point will be on how these could be realised. In position of the fact that successful RTAs like the EU and NAFTA developed under the leading of a “ regional hegemon ” , it will be analysed if India – as the part ‘s largest economic system – could turn SAFTA into a success narrative by presuming a more pro-active function. In this context it will be argued that India ‘s bilateral understandings with the undertaking provinces undermine SAFTA ‘s success as they are more comprehensive in range and coverage. After the appraisal of SAFTA in economic and political footings, an mentality will be given that discusses the possible hereafter development of SAFTA in visible radiation of presently observed tendencies.
2. The South Asiatic Free Trade Area ( SAFTA ) – nil to derive?
With more than 1.5 billion people South Asia is the universe ‘s largest regional axis ( World Bank, 2010 ) . In malice of strong cultural ties and a common colonial history the part is, nevertheless, the least incorporate in economic footings ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008b, p. 1 ) . By prosecuting the scheme of import-substituting industrialization after deriving independency from British regulation, the South Asiatic provinces adopted a protectionist attack that lowered trade between them to an all clip low of 2 per cent in 1970 ( Das, 2007, p. 9 ) . While intra-regional trade has picked up subsequent to the gradual liberalization of the part ‘s economic systems, it remains at a low degree of 5.5 per cent ( Bouet et al. , 2010, p. 6 ) . In position of low trade degrees and prevailing economic barriers, the chances for regional economic integrating in South Asia appear to be instead black. Faced with slow advancement of many-sided trade dialogues at the degree of the World Trade Organisation ( WTO ) and the proliferation of discriminatory trade understandings in other parts of the universe, the economic systems did, nevertheless, opt for closer regional cooperation by set uping the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation ( SAARC ) in 1985. While ab initio focussed on non-contentious political countries, the administration has bit by bit come to cover with economic integrating, climaxing in the constitution of the South Asian Free Trade Area ( SAFTA ) in 2004 ( Bandara and Yu, 2001, P. 3ff. ) .
Already prior to its operationalisation bookmans expressed uncertainties about the viability of such an agreement, as SAFTA did non carry through the features deemed necessary for a successful PTA. Bandara and Yu ( 2001 ) place six standards that a PTA should carry through in order to be desirable in economic footings: geographical propinquity, high pre-PTA-tariffs, a high degree of intra-regional trade, the being of trade complementarity, differences in economic construction based on fight and political harmoniousness between member provinces ( P. 5ff. ) Apart from the standard of high pre-PTA duties[ 2 ], SAFTA does non carry through any of the declared conditions. As a portion of GDP, the degree of intra-regional trade in South Asia is really low[ 3 ]and an analysis of trade forms shows that the SAFTA states trade more with developed states, particularly the EU and the US, than with their neighbors ( Das, 2007, P. 10f. , p. 27 ) . Using a modified gravitation equation Rodriguez-Delgaldo ( 2007 ) even came to the decision that ‘trade understandings with NAFTA, EU or ASEAN would bring forth higher trade flows than SAFTA ‘ ( p. 13 ) . Furthermore, the states have really similar forms of comparative advantage, which leads them to bring forth and merchandise a similar set of merchandises and therefore significantly reduces the degree of trade complimentarity ( Bandara and Yu, 2001, p. 6 ) . The state of affairs is farther complicated by the smoldering political struggle between India and Pakistan that constitutes a considerable obstruction towards enhanced political cooperation. In their empirical work Frankel and Wei ( 1995 ) found that even the geographical propinquity – usually seen as an of import driver of bilateral trade – does non work in favor of the part. Contrary to what the “ natural trading spouse hypothesis ” would propose, the writers find that trade between India and Pakistan ‘is 70 % lower than two otherwise indistinguishable economic systems ‘ ( p. 29 ) . Against this background it seems that ‘the epitaph for SAFTA had already been written even before it came into consequence in 2006 ‘ ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008b, p. 12 ) . Yet, the really fact that SAFTA is runing suggests that in malice of the unfavorable stipulations there must be some additions associated with regional integrating. To measure the viability of SAFTA, it is hence necessary to non merely take a more elaborate expression at traditional economic additions but besides see non-traditional economic every bit good as political and strategic additions.
2.1 Traditional economic additions
Since the seminal part of Viner ( 1950 ) the constructs of trade creative activity and trade recreation have been used in order to measure if states would profit from establishing free trade among themselves whilst retaining their external duties to the remainder of the universe. Ex-ante appraisals of SAFTA were overpoweringly negative in this respect. Panagariya ( 1999 ) came to the decision that ‘SAFTA is about certain to be [ aˆ¦ ] a “ trade diverting ” and therefore efficiency-reducing brotherhood ‘ ( p. 373 ) . Using a estimable general equilibrium ( CGE ) theoretical account, Bandara and Yu ( 2001 ) confirmed that ‘only India additions significantly from a South Asiatic FTA in footings of public assistance while other parts are negatively affected by it ‘ ( p. 13 ) . In a more recent survey Bouet et Al. ( 2010 ) find that Sri Lanka additions most from trade liberalisation under SAFTA due to its relatively low duty degrees while ‘SAFTA scenarios are trade deviating in exports and imports for SAFTA non-LDCs ‘ ( p. 56 ) . While the sum of trade recreation and its distribution across members therefore differs between different empirical surveies, the economic principle for SAFTA seems to be instead weak.
Advocates of SAFTA have countered these findings by reasoning that ‘ [ a ] s these economic systems grow and economic complementarities begin to develop, the states of South Asia may happen that SAFTA can offer a potentially important part to their advancement ‘ ( Das, 2008, p. 29 ) . They besides maintain that the big volume of informal trade in the part could offer the potency for trade creative activity ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008b, p. 6 ) . Yet, Baysan et Al. ( 2006 ) point out that the being of significant informal trade may non be motivated entirely by duty equivocation but ‘simply reflect inordinate minutess cost of go throughing the goods across the boundary line through formal channels ‘ ( p. 11 ) so that ‘paradoxically, the FTA might deviate trade from the low- to high-transactions cost channel ‘ ( ibid ) . While the effects of regional trade liberalization on informal trade are therefore disputed, the contention highlights the fact that economic theoretical accounts can non capture all facets of SAFTA. Since the CGE theoretical account assumes a peculiar theoretical account construction and calibrates parametric quantity values by utilizing informations from a basal twelvemonth, it does non integrate facets such as Rules of Origin ( RoO ) and can non account for new merchandises that merely get down to be traded after the FTA comes into operation ( Baysan et al. , 2006, p. 13 ) . This limited dependability is underlined by the success of the India-Sri Lanka FTA that was judged to be trade-diverting anterior to its origin and has yet led to increased bilateral trade due to the development of antecedently undiscovered trade linkages ( Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008 ) . Consequently the theoretical account ‘s prognostic capacity is instead limited and its consequences should non be taken as the exclusive land for judging SAFTA ‘s future viability.
While there is disagreement about the economic desirableness of SAFTA as such, both critics and advocates have deplored the specific restrictions that characterise this PTA. The most to a great extent criticised facet of the SAFTA understanding is the limited range of trade liberalization that is the consequence of significant negative lists that the undertaking provinces maintain. An analysis by Weerakoon and Thennakoon ( 2008 ) shows that about 53 per cent of the entire import trade between SAFTA members is covered by these negative lists and therefore non capable to the duty decreases that are envisioned in the SAFTA understanding ( p. 34 ) . Apart from this up-front limitation of the range of the SAFTA pact, critics have chided the South Asiatic provinces for restricting their understanding to goods and excepting trade in services and investing from liberalization ( Das, 2007, p. 12 ) . In add-on, restrictive regulations of beginning and finish – such as the specification of a peculiar port of entry for merchandises – constitute of import non-tariff barriers that badly hamper the growing of intra-regional trade ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008b, p. 8 ) .
2.2 Non-traditional economic additions
While traditional economic benefits from SAFTA appear to be limited, there can be considerable non-traditional economic additions from regional trade understandings. Fernandez ( 1997 ) has demonstrated that by “ locking in ” domestic reform procedures and promoting political stableness, RTAs can cut down uncertainness and enhance credibleness and thereby advance domestic and international investing. This position is shared by Sawhney and Kumar ( 2008a ) , who hold that regional integrating is likely to assist South Asia to pull more foreign direct investing ( FDI ) while besides taking to higher resource efficiency, enhanced competition and increased returns to scale ( p. 5 ) . Furthermore, ‘the outgrowth of regional production webs and attendant intra-industry trade within the part could be important adequate to pull the attending of planetary economic participants ‘ ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008b, p. 2 ) . It should, nevertheless, be borne in head that these benefits can merely be to the full reaped with a FTA that is less restrictive and besides includes trade in services and investing – exemplifying one time more the demand for reform of the SAFTA understanding.
2.3 Political and strategic additions
In add-on to the aforementioned economic benefits, regional trade understandings can besides give political and strategic benefits for the take parting provinces. On the one manus, regional economic integrating promotes cooperation in related Fieldss such as substructure edifice and the direction of natural resources. Sawhney and Kumar ( 2008a ) argue that ‘a regional ecosystem based attack to development in reaping H2O and natural resources will take to resource efficiency additions ‘ ( p. 6 ) . In add-on, cooperation in the field of energy security ‘can service as a confidence-building step and a lock-in mechanism for irreversible economic mutuality ‘ ( p. 7 ) , an facet that is of peculiar relevancy for states with conflictual dealingss such as India and Pakistan. That the strengthening of economic ties can besides be a agency of get the better ofing struggle and guaranting political harmoniousness is best illustrated by the history of European integrating and the attendant rapprochement between Germany and France. While the specific fortunes of the on-going competition between India and Pakistan surely put bounds to an analogy, the European experience shows that SAFTA could potentially lend to a reconciliation between the two arch enemies and thereby procure peace and political stableness in the part ( Baysan et al. , 2006, p. 12 ) .
Apart from paving the manner for increased political cooperation, regional trade liberalization can besides heighten the bargaining power of the undertaking provinces vis-a-vis 3rd parties and beef up their place in many-sided trade dialogues through the constitution of South-South confederations ( Ratna and Sidhu, 2008, p. 48 ) . This becomes progressively of import in position of the proliferation of regional trade understandings in recent old ages. Confronted with the turning power of Northern axis such as NAFTA and the European Union and their frequently prejudiced stance towards developing states, the smaller South Asiatic states can derive by fall ining forces and beef uping their ties with India ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008a, p. 5 ) .
India, on the other manus, can deduce significant strategic additions from advancing regional integrating within the SAFTA model. As Sawhney and Kumar ( 2008b ) illustrate ‘large states [ can ] use free trade understandings to construct new geopolitical confederations and diplomatic ties, and the political support is rewarded through increased prejudiced entree to the big market ‘ ( p. 16 ) . India can therefore utilize SAFTA to progress its ain political-strategic involvements and intrench its dominant place in the part. The expediency of such enterprises is underlined by ‘the possible strategic significance of a incorporate South Asiatic part [ which ] is obvious from the acute involvements shown by China, Japan, South Korea and United States in the SAARC forum ‘ ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008a, p. 4 ) .
2.4 Gaining possible additions – the demand for reform
While the current benefits from SAFTA appear to be instead modest, the predating analysis has illustrated that the possible additions from regional integrating in South Asia can be important, particularly if political and strategic considerations are taken into history. The realization of this potency does, nevertheless, require important accommodations to the manner in which SAFTA is presently runing. In order to implement the necessary reforms and reinvigorate the procedure of regional economic integrating in South Asia, SAFTA is therefore in demand of a “ locomotor ” that does non merely push for concrete amendments to the understanding but besides provides a compelling and inspiring vision for the hereafter of this FTA. The undermentioned subdivision will research if India could presume such a leading function and thereby supply farther drift towards regional integrating.
3. Turning SAFTA into a success narrative? – The function of India
Over the last decennaries regionalism has emerged as an progressively of import phenomenon. While merely 123 regional trade understandings were notified to the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade ( GATT ) in the period 1948-1994, the figure had risen to 462 in February 2010 ( Word Trade Organization, 2010a, 2010b ) . While the constitution of regional trade agreements is therefore widespread, they differ well in footings of range, rank and public presentation. This diverseness clearly illustrates that the development of a RTA depends on a myriad of factors and there is no standard expression to success. Yet, it is striking that successful regional trading understandings such as NAFTA, Mercosur and above all the European Union evolved under the counsel of one member province that has assumed a prima function and acted as an engine when the integrating procedure was threatened by dead end. As the presence of a taking province seems to advance regional economic integrating, the hereafter of SAFTA could besides depend on India ‘s ability and willingness to move as a “ regional hegemon ” .
3.1 Hegemonic Stability Theory and regional integrating
While surveies of NAFTA and the European Union tend to advert the function of a prima state as one driver of integrating, there is virtually no research that consistently analyses the importance of “ regional hegemons ” for the success or failure of regional trade understandings. Yet, the importance of leading by a hegemon has been discussed in the context of hegemonic stableness theory, which has its roots in Charles Kindleberger ‘s 1973 publication The World in Depression 1929-1939. In analyzing the causes of the Great Depression, Kindleberger comes to the decision that it was ‘the deficiency of leading [ aˆ¦ ] which rendered the system unstable ‘ ( p. 295 ) and paved the manner for the economic crisis. While Kindleberger regarded the being of a leader or hegemon as a requirement for the being of a broad universe economic system, political scientists such as Robert Keohane ( 1980 ) extended the statement by discoursing the relevancy of a hegemonic power for ‘the development of strong international governments ‘ ( p. 132 ) .
Yet, bookmans have defined the hegemon and its function really otherwise. As Yarbrough and Yarbrough ( 1985 ) summarise, the ‘role [ of the hegemon ] may be benevolent, impersonal, or exploitatory ‘ ( p. 349 ) . Harmonizing to Kindleberger ( 1973 ) leading should be defined as ‘the proviso of the public good of duty, instead than development of followings or the private good of prestigiousness ‘ ( p. 307 ) . This position is shared by Gilpin ( 1987 ) who maintains that ‘ [ I ] degree Fahrenheit other provinces begin to see the actions of the hegemon as self-serving and contrary to their ain political and economic involvements, the hegemonic system will be greatly weakened ‘ ( p. 73 ) . Bhagwati et Al. ( 1999 ) , on the other manus, view the hegemon as a ‘ ” selfish hegemon ” , looking after its ain narrowly defined involvements, reflecting its ain lobbying-derived demands ‘ ( p. 76 ) . Consequently, a hegemonic state favours regional trade understandings over many-sided trade liberalization because it ‘will derive a greater final payment by dickering consecutive with them [ the non-hegemonic powers ] , utilizing bilateral and plurilateral PTA attacks, picking the states that are the most vulnerable and so traveling on to the following 1 and so on ‘ ( ibid ) .
In contrast, Yarbrough and Yarbrough ( 1985 ) argue that in malice of its dominant place the hegemon can non one-sidedly enforce its preferable understanding on the non-hegemonic states because ‘ [ T ] rade liberalisation is a concerted activity ‘ ( p. 359 ) . As the needed team-work can do moral jeopardy and free-riding jobs – with states seeking to harvest the benefits from trade liberalization while retaining their ain protectionist barriers – the operation of a free trade understanding does, nevertheless, require a feasible enforcement mechanism ( ibid ) . This function could be fulfilled by the hegemon, who could ‘use its ain trade policies to implement trade understandings by penalizing states which fail to follow with their policy committednesss ‘ ( p. 361 ) .
While the assorted strands of hegemonic stableness theory therefore differ with respect to their reading for the motivations and function of the hegemon, they all suggest that a “ regional hegemon ” could play a cardinal function in finding the success or failure of a regional trade understanding – be it as a benevolent usher or as a ‘selfish hegemon ‘ . An appraisal of the future viability of a free trade understanding should therefore non merely look at economic and political-strategic additions but besides analyse if a “ regional hegemon ” exists that could give drift to regional economic integrating. In this context a regional hegemon will be defined as a state that due to its economic and political laterality in a given part is able and willing to heighten regional integrating by supplying leading and guaranting the cooperation of the other RTA members by either persuasion or enforcement ( “ carrot or stick ” ) .
3.2 India – a “ regional hegemon ” ?
In footings of economic public presentation, population size and set down country India clearly dominates the South Asiatic part. By being located in the Centre of the part and covering more than 60 per cent of its district, the state commands extended geopolitical power. India ‘s economic strength is illustrated by the fact that it accounts for about 80 per cent of the part ‘s GDP and is the most advanced economic system in footings of industrial base. With 1.14 billion people India is besides place to more than two tierces of the part ‘s population and possesses a mammoth market ( World Bank, 2010 ) .[ 4 ]As Gilpin ( 1987 ) has pointed out ‘ [ T ] he comparatively big size of the hegemon ‘s market is a beginning of considerable power and enables it to make an economic domain of influence ‘ ( p. 76 ) . Consequently, its economic weight and the attendant political power seem to give India the ability to play a cardinal function in the procedure of regional integrating.
Yet, India ‘s ability to show leading and drive liberalization in the SAFTA model has been circumscribed by its conflictual dealingss with Pakistan, the part ‘s 2nd largest economic system ( Das, 2007, p. 14 ) . Pakistan feared that India would work SAFTA to widen its laterality in the part and has hence been extremely doubting of moves towards enhanced integrating ( Ratna and Sidhu, 2008. p. 50 ) . Therefore, the long-standing struggle between the two states has been an obstruction to both a advancement of SAFTA and the premise of a more dominant function by India. Since the agreement of a ceasefire in the Kashmir struggle at the terminal of 2003 bilateral dealingss have, nevertheless, improved ; raising opportunities that India will be able to emerge as a driver of economic integrating.
However, effectual leading besides depends on India ‘s ability to guarantee the cooperation of the other SAFTA members. In the absence of a powerful enforcement mechanism, India will hold to carry them by supplying discriminatory entree to its market. As Yarbrough and Yarbrough ( 1985 ) emphasis, ‘ [ a ] hegemonic state can non single-handedly create an unfastened trading government ‘ ( p. 359 ) and ‘the hegemon ‘s success depends upon its ability to take on acceptable footings ‘ ( p. 350 ) . Consequently, India needs to pay due attending to the demands of the other catching provinces, if SAFTA is to be turned into a successful regional trade block ( Ratna and Sidhu, 2008, p. 55 ) . However, ‘ [ one ] n the past, India ‘s scheme in South Asiatic integrating was based on “ reciprocality ” , despite her size advantage ‘ ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008a, p. 11 ) . While India has by and large made somewhat larger grants than the other SAFTA members, these have remained moderate in absolute footings ( Mukherji, 2004, P. 5f. ) . Under the SAFTA understanding India – together with Pakistan and Sri Lanka – has to cut down its duties to zero per cent until 2013, while the least developed states ( LDCs ) have to to the full implement SAFTA merely by 2016 ( SAARC, 2004 ) .[ 5 ]An analysis of member provinces ‘ sensitive merchandise lists shows, nevertheless, that India still exempts a big figure of merchandises from duty cuts, viz. a portion of 14 per cent for its trade with the LDCs and even 17 per cent in the instance of trade with Pakistan and Sri Lanka ( Bouet et al. , 2010, p. 40 )[ 6 ]. As her big market and economic dynamism would let India to absorb a larger figure of imports from the SAFTA members, the limited grants from the Indian side point to a deficiency of political will instead than ability ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008a, p. 11 ) . Yet, this attitude seems to alter as the Indian Prime Minister announced at the 14th SAARC acme that ‘as the largest state in the part, India was ready to accept asymmetrical duties including opening her markets to her South Asiatic neighbors without take a firm standing on reciprocality ‘ ( Ratna and Sidhu, 2008, p. 17 ) . In making so, India could besides relieve the concerns of the smaller states that the additions from SAFTA are unevenly distributed between members and thereby increase their committedness to regional integrating ( Dash, 2009 ) .
The predating analysis has shown that – in malice of some obstructions – its economic and political preponderance gives India the ability to move as a “ regional hegemon ” that promotes economic integrating and encourages other SAFTA members to liberalize by doing asymmetric grants. It seems, nevertheless, questionable if India is willing to take on such a function and show its political committedness to SAFTA by doing it the premier instrument for trade liberalization and economic cooperation in South Asia.
3.3 A affair of precedence – SAFTA vs. viing FTAs
In contrast to its instead loath stance within the SAFTA model, India has been actively engaged in puting up and progressing a figure of viing FTAs. While understandings with 3rd states such as Singapore and transregional trading agreements – such as the free trade country with ASEAN – can congratulate understandings at the regional degree, sub-regional FTAs are likely to hold an inauspicious consequence on SAFTA ( Dash, 2009 ) . By supplying alternate channels for trade liberalization they threaten to sabotage SAARC ‘s place as the cardinal forum for regional cooperation and disperse the force per unit area for reform of the SAFTA understanding.
The possible danger associated with viing FTAs is besides underlined by the fact that ‘there is small grounds of similar tendencies in other regional groups. The huge bulk of regional axis began from an in agreement base on the strength or grade of cooperation and has progressed from at that place, taking corporate determinations with respect to either the velocity of integrating or admittance of new entrants to the axis ‘ ( Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008, p. 4 ) . The position that parallel sub-regional enterprises can endanger the coherence and relevancy of the regional forum is besides illustrated by the European Union – the most extremely incorporate and arguably most successful regional grouping. While there have been repeated arguments about the benefits of a multi-speed Europe – either in the signifier of a “ nucleus Europe theoretical account ” or in the form of a “ variable geometry Europe ” – existent moves into this way have been really limited ( Bainbridge, 2003 ) . While the Treaty of Amsterdam has made commissariats for enhanced co-operation between a group of member provinces, and engagement in the Euro and the Schengen country can be regarded as illustrations of “ variable geometry ” , they are portion of the acquis communautaire and therefore located within the European Union model ( ibid ) . India, on the other manus, has actively pursued iniatives outside the SAARC model which non merely creates significant confusion for exporters who have to cover with incompatibilities between the understandings, it besides hampers SAFTA ‘s development into a powerful regional axis ( Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008, p. 35 ) .
This is peculiarly true for the bilateral FTA between India and Sri Lanka ( ISLFTA ) that the two states signed in December 1998, at a clip when the liberalization procedure between SAARC states had come to a arrest due to the outburst of the Indo-Pakistani struggle ( Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008, p. 1 ) . Since so the India-Sri Lanka free trade understanding has emerged as a venue of ‘fast-track liberalization ‘ ( p. 4 ) because – in contrast to its moderate grants in SAFTA – India has offered asymmetric intervention to Sri Lanka in ISLFTA and thereby eased the state ‘s entree to its market ( p. 12 ) . As can be seen from Table 1 India has placed fewer merchandises on the negative list than Sri Lanka, subjected a larger figure of merchandises to tariff decreases and wholly abolished duties for about a fifth of the merchandises that Sri Lanka exports ( p. 9 ) .
Table 1: Applicability of ISLFTA Preferences to Actual Trade
Beginning: Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008, p. 9
The two states besides agreed on timely execution and completed the in agreement liberalization steps by 2003 ( India ) and 2008 ( Sri Lanka ) severally. This is in blunt contrast to the SAFTA understanding which is non traveling to be to the full implemented until 2016. Furthermore, India and Sri Lanka have continuously developed enterprises for farther liberalization such as the Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement ( CEPA )[ 7 ], which is ‘to widen the scope of ISLFTA to travel beyond Trade in Goods to include Servicess and to ease greater investing flows between the two states ‘ ( Indian Department of Commerce, 2010 ) . In add-on, the CEPA seeks to advance trade by doing commissariats for the common acknowledgment of criterions and the simplification of imposts processs ( ibid ) .
The above comparing indicates that ISLFTA clearly outrivals SAFTA in footings of the range and agenda of trade liberalization every bit good as the extent of asymmetric grants by India. What implications does this hold for SAFTA? As Weerakoon and Thennakoon ( 2008 ) point out ‘the outgrowth of bilateral FTAs posed a challenge and an chance to the SAARC procedure – in consequence, either to fit the bilateral FTAs or to continue a measure farther, and in making so subsume the bilateral FTAs under the regional understanding ‘ ( p. 33 ) .
4. Doomed to neglect? – Prospects for SAFTA
While its members have late proposed the constitution of a South Asiatic Economic Union until 2020, the realization of such a program seems unrealistic as ‘the SAFTA procedure to day of the month has failed to even fit the bilateral FTAs ‘ ( Weerakoon and Thennakoon, 2008, p. 34 ) . SAFTA ‘s viability hence forthrightly depends on thorough reforms that would – at the really least – put it on a par with viing FTAs. In order to heighten the additions from regional integrating and to minimise the hazard of trade recreation, the member provinces would necessitate to cut down the figure of merchandises that are excluded from trade liberalization via the sensitive lists, follow comprehensive and broad regulations of beginning, better the substructure for trade and get rid of the assorted non-tariff barriers to regional trade. Furthermore, SAFTA would hold to widen coverage to services and investing and commit to a more ambitious agenda for the completion of the liberalization procedure ( Baysan et al, 2006, P. 15ff. ) . If the catching provinces would ship on such a reform way, ‘SAFTA [ aˆ¦ ] would supply greater chance than the bilateral understandings ( Ratna and Sidhu, 2009, p. 19 ) .
Yet, such enterprises are barely imaginable without leading from a “ regional hegemon ” that drives the reform procedure and ensures the conformity of smaller member provinces by doing asymmetric grants and bearing the majority of accommodation costs. Consequently, the hereafter of SAFTA will mostly be determined by the extent to which India perceives it as a utile forum to progress its involvements. In malice of its dominant place in the part, India has so far shown small enthusiasm for the advancement of SAFTA and has alternatively concluded bilateral understandings with its neighbors. However, strategic considerations could take to a alteration of head as India ‘s missing committedness to SAFTA may adversely impact its future function in the planetary economic order. ‘If India does non set up stronger ties with immediate neighbors and procure the regional infinite, she will shortly happen herself isolated as other states like China set up deeper economic ties with SAARC spouses ‘ ( Sawhney and Kumar, 2008a, p. 13 ) . In line with Bhagwati et Al. ‘s impression of the “ selfish hegemon ” , India could therefore utilize the RTA for ‘defending the regional infinite ‘ ( ibid ) and procuring its economic and political preponderance in South Asia.
In position of the spread of regionalism in other parts of the universe, cooperation becomes besides progressively of import as a manner of deriving political influence at the international degree. Faced with powerful Northern axis such as the EU and NAFTA, the South Asiatic states will hold to fall in forces if they want to efficaciously support their involvements and stop the frequently prejudiced patterns of the developed states. Harmonizing to Baysan et Al. ( 2006 ) a reformed SAFTA could besides organize the stepping rock towards a broader regional trade understanding in Asia that includes China and the members of the Association of South East Asiatic Nations ( ASEAN ) ( p. 4 ) . While Rodriguez-Delgaldo ( 2007 ) has demonstrated that such an FTA would be economically desirable – as it would about surely lead to merchandise creative activity – it could besides assist to rectify the power instability that presently still exists between Asia and the big Northern trading axis and contribute to the advancement of many-sided trade liberalization. While an Asiatic axis is still a long-run vision, the successful operation of SAFTA could be the first probationary measure into this way and supply member provinces with the necessary experience for broader regional cooperation.
Ever since its foundation the South Asian Free Trade Area has engendered graphic treatments about its raison d’etre. The part ‘s economic features – such asaˆ¦- suggest that SAFTA will most probably non heighten public assistance and hazards to be trade deviating. A closer analysis does, nevertheless, reveals that while traditional economic additions are limited, SAFTA can bring forth significant non-traditional economic additions by allowing economic systems of graduated table effects, advancing competition and raising the part ‘s attraction for investors. Regional economic integrating besides offers significant political and strategic additions that become progressively of import in position of the outgrowth of powerful regional blocks in other parts of the Earth. If the South Asiatic states want to support their involvements at the many-sided degree they will therefore hold to get at a more incorporate stance. In malice of its tremendous potency, the existent public presentation of SAFTA has been limited by the restrictive commissariats of the understanding. In order to harvest the benefits from economic integrating and to emerge as a meaningful regional block, SAFTA will hence hold to undergo a thorough reform procedure and bit by bit take the assorted obstructions to free intra-regional trade. In position of the slow advancement of execution and the evident deficiency of political will of the catching provinces, SAFTA needs a “ part hegemon ” that is willing and able to advance regional integrating by supplying inducements to the smaller member provinces. While India is the part ‘s unchallenged economic leader it has so far been loath to presume a prima function within SAFTA. Apart from the long-standing struggle with Pakistan, India has been doubting of the utility of SAFTA for the promotion of its ain involvements and has alternatively engaged in bilateral FTAs that threaten to sabotage SAFTA. While the more favorable footings of bilateral FTAs could render SAFTA redundant, strategic considerations could bring on an about turn. With the turning power of the larger Northern regional axis and in position of China ‘s addition involvement in the country, India might good detect SAFTA as an instrument for supporting its regional hegemony/preponderance. And see it as a foundation rock for a future broader Asiatic axis. With the mollification of the Indo-Pakistani struggle and the failure of the Doha unit of ammunition, the clime seems to be more favorable.
If SAFTA is traveling to emerge as a success or autumn into limbo can non be predicted. While the integrating procedure surely has to derive gait, it should besides be borne in air current that regional economic integrating is a long and rocky route and that the European Union – as the premier illustration of regional integrating – had to get the better of many obstacles/suffered reverses and needed half a century and from first stairss to the constitution of the European economic and pecuniary brotherhood. The European Union besides illustrates one other facet: all economic and strategic additions aside, a undertaking needs a vision that can animate all stakeholders ( politicians, concern, people ) and guarantee ( political ) committedness despite obstructions or inauspicious effects. Thus the thought of a South Asiatic Economic Union – every bit far-fetched as it might look at present – could supply SAFTA with the
Common challenges that can non undertake entirely
Sth on theory?
peculiarly since viing FTAs outrival SAFTA
Stalemate – reforms would necessitate drift, a driver. Traditionally largest state, the regional hegemon, has assumed this function in successful FTAs
India so far has non emerged as a regional hegemon. While it has the ability, it has non been willing to do SAFTA a precedence
Figure 1: Map of SAFTA member states
( Beginning: hypertext transfer protocol: //www.mapsofworld.com/country-grouping/saarc-country-map.html )
Figure 2: Duty Ratess in SAFTA economic systems 1998-2008
( Beginning: World Bank, 2010 )
Figure 3: Intra-Regional Trade as a Percentage of GDP ( 2004 )
( Beginning: Das, 2007, p. 11 )
Figure 4: GDP, population and land country of SAFTA members in absolute footings
( Beginning: World Bank, 2010 )
( current US $ )
( sq. kilometer )
Population ( entire )
Figure 5: Relative size indexs of SAFTA members in 2008
( Beginning: World Bank, 2010 )
Figure 6: Commissariats for duty decreases under the SAFTA understanding
( Beginning: Bouet et Al, 2010, p. 40 )
Figure 7: Sensitive Product lines under the SAFTA understanding
( Beginning: Bouet et Al, 2010, p. 40 )