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Enhanced Regional Economic Cooperation through Dealing with NTMs in the BBIN Sub-Region in South Asia: A Political Economy Approach

Selim Raihan ()

MPRA Paper from University Library of Munich, Germany

Abstract: Despite a strong demand for deeper regional integration in South Asia, progress has been slow. The implementation of agreements often does not match the declared ambitions, and in this context, lack of political will and leadership, institutional weaknesses and low capacity, and resource constraints have been argued to be the major impeding factors. Moreover, the political rivalry between India and Pakistan has often constrained the SAARC to be a functional regional forum. In this regard, a potential effective platform is the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) initiative, a sub-regional coordinative architecture of four countries in South Asia. However, deeper integration among BBIN countries has been impeded by non-tariff measures (NTMs), non-tariff barriers (NTBs) and associated procedural obstacles (POs), which are exacerbated further by lack of trade facilitation and cumbersome customs procedures at the land border ports. To address these problems, the dominant literature has looked primarily at the narrow economic factors influencing regional integration. However, to have a better and systematic assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, it is important to explore the political economy dimensions. Against this backdrop, this paper examines the possibilities of enhanced regional economic cooperation through dealing with NTMs in the BBIN sub-region in South Asia using a political economy approach developed by Raihan (2016a).

Keywords: Regional integration; NTMs; BBIN; South Asia; Political Economy (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: F13 F14 F15 F17 F53 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2017
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