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Post-SAFTA NTMs for Agricultural Trade: Revelations from the India–South Asia Approach

Chandan Kumar and Nalin Bharti

Foreign Trade Review, 2021, vol. 56, issue 1, 117-135

Abstract: Commitment of South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) from South Asian Preferential Trading Agreement (SAPTA) for trade liberalisation was one of the hopes in South Asia. This article highlights untapped trade potential in agro-trade between India and its trading partners in South Asia through Trade Potential Index (TPI). This article evaluates post-SAFTA effects of non-tariff measures (NTMs) on agro-products (HS 6-digit level) over the period 2004–2016. After 2004, many agro-products of South Asia have suffered trade restrictions which create challenges over SAFTA implementation. This article inquires whether NTMs in post-SAFTA has been trade creating or trade inhibiting in agro-trade for member countries as per the earlier commitments. Research methodology for this study includes qualitative and quantitative approach. Qualitative approach examines agri-trade constraints faced between India and rest seven South Asian countries and vice versa. Quantitative analysis explores prevailing trade barriers in selected agro-products during 2002–2016 applying Regional Trade Barrier Index and NTM Coverage Ratio. Results establish the presence of agri-trade barriers from South Asian countries against India as well as India’s barriers against rest seven countries of South Asia. Study concludes that agri-trade restrictions prevail in South Asia despite SAFTA which shows the slow process of trade liberalisation. JEL Codes: F13, F14, Q17

Keywords: Non-tariff measures; trade potential; South Asia; RTB index (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2021
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DOI: 10.1177/0015732520961309

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