Ajay Sahai, Director General and CEO of FIEO mentioned that non-tariff barriers have emerged as the principal challenge after the reduction of tariff barriers and quotas. Taking the example of deliberations at the G-20 and other such forums, he said that though there have been statements made by world leaders, committing to trade reforms for removing NTBs, protectionist tendencies in developed and emerging market economies have been on the rise. Given that India’s trade with regional trading partners has grown faster than with other countries, more should be done to deepen regional trade integration.
Presenting the policy suggestions emerging from CUTS study on non-tariff barriers affecting South Asian trade, Bipul Chatterjee, Deputy Executive Director of CUTS said, it is time for trade and business associations in the region to take initiatives and proactively engage in the process of trade reforms, supporting governmental efforts. Such a participatory approach will help to identify the most problematic trade barriers and prioritise reform measures in a better way.
As part of its initiatives on South Asian regional economic integration, CUTS, with support from The Asia Foundation, is organising a regional conference on 11th April in New Delhi to discuss a business plan for future interventions to remove and/or harmonise non-tariff barriers hindering intra-regional trade. Representatives from governments and business/trade organisations from all South Asian countries will discuss the contours of a participatory approach to NTB reforms in South Asia.