Publications List

Comprehensive listing of books, reports, and research on regional cooperation and integration (RCI) in South Asia and relevant global RCI publications, including publications on transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridors in the SASEC region.

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Sustainable Tourism After COVID-19: Insights and Recommendations for Asia and the Pacific

This publication examines how tourism may be restarted in Asia and the Pacific to better contribute to the Sustainable Development Goals. The report is aimed at policymakers and will support organizations involved in overseas investment, development, and cooperation. It recommends fostering cooperation through data sharing and joint monitoring and suggests systemic change through decarbonization, improved governance, and sustainable finance.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, COVID-19, Sustainable Development Goals, Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Tourism

Strengthening Trade along the Dhaka-Kolkata Route: For a Prosperous and Integrated South Asia

The growing trade on land between Dhaka and Kolkata is pushing development in both India and Bangladesh. The governments of the two countries—in partnership with the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program, the Asian Development Bank, and other development partners—are implementing projects to improve infrastructure and streamline trade. Improvements will reduce trade costs and help scale up trade bilaterally, across the SASEC region, and internationally.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, India, Bilateral Trade, SASEC

Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 Supplement: Recovery Continues

South Asia’s economic growth is projected at 8.6% for fiscal year (FY) 2021, while the forecast for FY2022 stands at 7.0%. In Bangladesh, exports and imports grew due to rising global demand in clothes. In India, gross domestic product (GDP) growth remained strong, driven by growth in private consumption and investments. Maldives saw an increase of 193.3% in tourist arrivals from January to October in 2021 compared with 2020. In Nepal, GDP grew by 2.5% in FY2021 due to a rebound in services. In Sri Lanka, GDP grew by 12.3% in the second quarter of 2021, with growth prospects for 2022 downgraded due to macroeconomic challenges. Previously, in the Asian Development Outlook Update, the GDP of Bhutan and Myanmar were forecast to contract in FY2021.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: South Asia, Export, ADB, Import

Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2021: Accelerating Climate-smart Trade and Investment for Sustainable Development

This edition of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report highlights the linkages between trade, investment, and climate change and examines the role of regional trade agreements and trade and transport facilitation measures in reducing greenhouse gas emissions. It offers policy recommendations for ensuring that regional trade and investment policies are sustainable and able to address the worsening climate crisis.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2021

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Tags: South Asia, UNCTAD, Sustainable Development Goals, Free Trade Agreements

Potential Exports and Nontariff Barriers to Trade: Bhutan National Study

This diagnostic study explores how Bhutan could boost its exports by addressing nontariff trade barriers. It looks at export products that have the potential to increase their market share in South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partner countries. It examines possible legal reforms, the upgrade of quality standards, and capacity development for accrediting agencies and offers practical recommendations for Bhutan’s public and private sectors.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bhutan, SASEC, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, Technical Barriers to Trade, Non-Tariff Measures

Asia–Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index: Enhanced Framework, Analysis, and Applications

This report discusses the framework of the Asia–Pacific Regional Cooperation and Integration Index (ARCII), which has been revised to include digital connectivity and environmental cooperation. ARCII estimates have remained stable among Association of Southeast Asian Nations members and in the Greater Mekong Subregion, while it improved for Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation Program countries. ARCII declined slightly for South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries, though improvements and links with nearby subregions are expected from joint initiatives with the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation countries.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, SASEC, BIMSTEC

South Asia Economic Focus, Fall 2021

South Asia continued to recover from the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with growth set to rise by 7.1% in 2021 and 2022. Growth in Bangladesh is estimated at 6.4% in fiscal year (FY) 2021-2022 with the recovery of exports and private consumption. Bhutan GDP is projected to grow by 3.6% supported by migrant labor and public infrastructure projects. India is projected to grow by 8.3% in FY2021-2022 on the back of incentives to increase domestic demand and manufacturing. With the return of tourism in Maldives, the country’s output is expected to grow at 23.3% in 2021. Nepal GDP is estimated to grow by 3.9% as vaccination picks up and tourism and migrant worker flow recover. With pressure from the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant in June 2021, real GDP in Sri Lanka is projected to grow by 3.3% in 2021.

Author: World Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: South Asia, WB, COVID-19

Field Diary Chattogram Port: Transition from National to Regional Transportation Hub

This study conducted by CUTS International, India, in collaboration with Unnayan Shamannay assesses infrastructure and trade logistics at Chattogram Port, Bangladesh. Chattogram Port is considered the maritime gateway of Bangladesh, with nearly 90% of Bangladesh trade passing through through the port. The study noted points of conflict between policy and practice while stakeholders identified the support needed to ensure that regional multimodal connectivity delivers its projected benefits.

Author: CUTS International

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade Policy, Ports

Reforming Port Processes in India for Logistics Efficiency

Researchers undertook port-process mapping at Jawaharlal Nehru and Vishakhapatnam ports, two key export–import gateways in India, to help identify strategic reform and potential solutions to improve port systems in the country. This brief recommends streamlining and digitizing port logistics and operations in India to help reduce logistics cost and make operations more efficient.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, India, Customs

Field Diary Phuentsholing: Largest Commercial Hub in Bhutan

This study assesses infrastructure and trade logistics in Phuentsholing, Bhutan. It observed that several South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) projects have helped develop trade and transport in Phuentsholing through the construction of four-lane roads and bridges. The study proposes ways to promote multimodal connectivity among the BBIN countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal), such as the further improvement of ports and related facilities in Phuentsholing to handle an increase in trade and transport.

Author: CUTS International

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bhutan, SASEC, Trade, Transport, BBIN

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2021

Key Indicators for Asia and the Pacific 2021 provides updated statistics on economic, financial, social, and environmental measures as, well as select indicators for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Statistics are for 49 regional members of the Asian Development Bank, including numbers for energy and electricity, transport and communications, and international trade.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, South Asia, Sustainable Development Goals

Asian Development Outlook 2021 Update

Economic growth in South Asia is projected at 8.8% in 2021 while the outlook for next year has been raised to 7.0% from 6.6%. In Bangladesh, growth in fiscal year (FY) 2022 is projected to strengthen though still below pre-coronavirus pandemic levels. In Bhutan, gross domestic product (GDP) in FY2021 is estimated to have contracted by 3.4%; growth is forecast to rebound to 3.7% in FY2022. The projection for India is downgraded to 10.0% from the earlier projection of 11.0% in FY2021, while the outlook for FY2022 improved to 7.5% from 7.0%. Tourist arrivals in Maldives increased by 33.4% year on year in 2021. In Nepal, GDP growth is estimated at 2.3% in FY2021. In Sri Lanka, GDP growth forecasts are revised down to 3.4% in 2021 with risks from fresh pandemic outbreak and currency related stress.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, COVID-19, South Asia, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Sri Lanka

Quarterly Dossier: Catalytic Multi-modal Connectivity Initiatives in the BBIN Sub-region

Various national, bilateral, trilateral, and subregional initiatives in multimodal connectivity in the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregion support faster and safer trade and transport. These have multiple positive impacts, including those that improve delivery of services to deal with the coronavirus pandemic. This publication presents four stories that show the impact of infrastructure connectivity in BBIN countries. It provides an assessment of connectivity initiatives as well as suggestions to enhance the positive effects of these initiatives.

Author: CUTS International

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, BBIN, COVID-19, Trade, Transport

Using Chattogram Port as a Transshipment Hub for the North Eastern Region of India

The brief focuses on developing logistics in India's northeastern region and Bangladesh. To facilitate seamless transshipment movement through Chattogram port, this brief presents a framework to promote sustainable development and suggests ways to address infrastructure and regulatory gaps.

Author: Soumya Chattopadhyay, Dhruv Gadh, Manish Sharma

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation

India-Bangladesh Cross-Border Tourism and Cruise Operations

Trade and tourism along transboundary rivers bring socioeconomic opportunities in India and Bangladesh. This report for the webinar "Public Private Dialogue on India-Bangladesh Cross-border Tourism and Cruise Operations" suggests that easing security, customs, and immigration protocols while strengthening safety measures would help ensure that cruise operations are inclusive and sustainable.

Author: CUTS International

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Trade Facilitation, Tourism

A Primer on Quantifying the Environmental Benefits of Cross-Border Paperless Trade Facilitation

Cross-border trade—through the printing, processing, exchange, and discarding of paper documents—tends to place burdens on the environment. For example, 68 documents (including copies) are required to process the export of garments from Bangladesh to India. This paper from the Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade contends that implementing paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific could reduce greenhouse gases, driven by the projected gains in efficiency in handling digital data.

Author: Yann Duval and Simon Hardy

Year: 2021

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, UNESCAP, South Asia

World Investment Report 2021

Global flows of foreign direct investment fell by one third to $1 trillion in 2020 due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. In South Asia, foreign direct investments rose by 20% to $71 billion in 2020, driven mainly by strong mergers and acquisitions in India. Inflows in Bangladesh contracted by 11% and in Sri Lanka by 43%, where inflows will take longer to recover. This report monitors global and regional investment trends to support national and international policymakers.

Author: United Nations Conference on Trade and Development

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, FDI, South Asia, Sustainable Development Goals, UNCTAD

Beyond the Pandemic: Building Back Better from Crises in Asia and the Pacific

The coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic has interrupted trade and tourism worldwide, leading to job losses and rising poverty. Countries need to address weaknesses in economic and social protection systems, through national initiatives that can be supported by regional cooperation. United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific member countries endorsed the Action Plan to Strengthen Regional Cooperation on Social Protection in Asia and the Pacific. This provides a platform through which governments in South Asia could work together to help mitigate the impacts of the pandemic.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, Regional Cooperation, South Asia, Trade, Tourism

Basic Statistics 2021

Basic Statistics 2021 presents development indicators—tracking the progress made by countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. It includes data for 46 economies in Asia and the Pacific, including those for the seven South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade, Sustainable Development Goals, Renewable Energy

Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific 2021: Towards Post-COVID-19 Resilient Economies

For recovery to be inclusive and robust in Asia and the Pacific, this report recommends a more synchronized coronavirus disease vaccination program and notes the importance of regional cooperation among countries. The report also suggests that beyond policies aimed at economic expansion, policies should look to improve the overall well-being of people and ensure the strengthening of buffers against economic and non-economic shocks.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, Regional Cooperation, Sustainable Development Goals

Asian Development Outlook (ADO) 2021 Supplement: Renewed Outbreaks and Divergent Recoveries

Growth forecast for South Asia has been downgraded to 8.9% for 2021, dampened by new surges of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) infections. Growth in exports and remittances backed economic activity in Bangladesh. In Bhutan, economic activity has slowed after local containment measures were enacted to control the spread of COVID-19. India's growth projection has been downgraded to 10.0% from 11.0% in 2021. Weak travel demand in Maldives and persistent infections in Nepal are hampering recovery in those countries. In Sri Lanka, restrictions brought about by a third wave of infections are slowing down tourism and other economic activity. With businesses and consumers in South Asia better able to adapt to containment measures, the adverse economic impact of COVID-19 surges is expected to be limited.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, Tourism, South Asia

ADB Annual Report 2020

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) 2020 Annual Report details operational and financial results. In 2020, ADB continued its support for the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) road corridor in Dhaka-Northwest in Bangladesh, committing $406.1 million in loans to strengthen trade. Under the SASEC program, ADB committed $200 million to support cross-border power trade by upgrading substations in Nepal in Khimti, Barhabise, and Lapsiphedi. ADB also committed a $150 million concessional loan to improve the safety and capacity of Tribhuvan International Airport and Gautam Buddha Airport to help revive Nepal's tourism industry and address the long-term economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, Energy, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, Trade, Transport

Dealing with Coronavirus Pandemic in the Bay of Bengal Region

Bay of Bengal countries have been deeply affected by the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. To cope, the countries should be able to secure vaccines at an affordable rate and ensure these are administered safely and securely. The countries could restore economic growth by strengthening regional cooperation in the public health sector and enhancing trade facilitation to augment resilience of the supply chain. Mitigation measures should also focus on reducing the cost of addressing the pandemic in the region.

Author: Prabir De

Year: 2021

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, BIMSTEC, Trade Facilitation

Assam as India's Gateway to ASEAN

Assam's location in northeast India offers opportunities for enhancing cross-border trade and developing regional economic corridors spanning Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, and countries in Southeast Asia. By developing trade and economic corridors, Assam aims to build on its vision of becoming a $75 billion economy by 2025.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ASEAN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Regional Cooperation, Trade

Making BIMSTEC a Regional Vehicle for Nepal's Economic Growth

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was established in 1996 with a permanent secretariat in Dhaka, Bangladesh. Nepal, which joined BIMSTEC in 2004, could achieve its goals of development and prosperity through the organization. Nepal could expand its trade, economy, business, investments, and cultural connections through connections with BIMSTEC member countries in South and Southeast Asia.

Author: Sunil K.C.

Year: 2021

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Nepal, Trade

Harnessing Inland Waterways for Inclusive Trade Among Bay of Bengal Countries

The transboundary rivers Ganges, Brahmaputra, and Meghna create a vibrant water grid connecting Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal. India has been developing fairways and river and multimodal terminals in the last few years. Further development of inland waterways in Bay of Bengal countries would create jobs and open opportunities for inclusive trade.

Author: Veena Vidyadharan

Year: 2021

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Inland Waterways, Nepal, Trade, Transport

Regional Integration in Bay of Bengal Region in Post-COVID-19 Period

Bay of Bengal countries face similar challenges in facing the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. By strengthening regional cooperation, countries could bring down costs brought about by the pandemic and help hurdle barriers to the flow of people, ideas, and trade in goods and services. This paper analyzes the possible economic losses caused by the pandemic in the Bay of Bengal region. It also looks at progress in regional cooperation and suggests ways for working together in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic.

Author: Prabir De

Year: 2021

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Tags: COVID-19, BIMSTEC, Regional Cooperation

Learning from CAREC Corridors and Connectivity: Prospects for BBIN Sub-region

This publication looks at Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) corridors, drawing lessons for the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) subregion. It also looks at the potential for multimodal connectivity between CAREC and BBIN countries. BBIN countries formed the South Asian Growth Quadrangle in 1996 and, with help from the Asian Development Bank, formed the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program in 2001 to promote regional cooperation in transport and trade. The SASEC partnership later grew to include Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar.

Author: CUTS International

Year: 2021

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Tags: BBIN, Connectivity, Economic Corridor Development, SASEC, Regional Connectivity, Trade Facilitation, Transport

Regional Cooperation for Trade and Transport Connectivity in the Age of Pandemics in Asia and the Pacific

Governments, border agencies, logistics companies, and traders have been studying how trade and transport facilitation measures may be used to maintain the flow of goods across borders. In South Asia, the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Trade Facilitation Working Group and the SASEC Customs Subgroup, through SASEC’s Trade Facilitation Strategic Framework, have helped develop separate lanes for handling and releasing medicines and other critical goods. A SASEC technical assistance project is also being implemented to modernize cross-border e-commerce for micro, small and medium enterprises.

Author: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Year: 2021

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Tags: Trade, Transport, SASEC, Trade Facilitation

Asian Economic Integration Report 2021: Making Digital Platforms Work for Asia and the Pacific

This report reviews economic cooperation and integration in Asia and the Pacific. As of the end of 2019, ADB had committed a total of $13.77 billion to 60 projects under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) partnership, including projects for improving transport connectivity, trade facilitation, and power transmission. In 2019, SASEC members revamped the SASEC Operational Plan 2016–2025 to prioritize narrowing gaps in the subregion’s transport and energy networks. The SASEC program focused on expanding multimodal connectivity to include maritime and inland water transport. Subregional health cooperation was strengthened in 2020 to improve access to health services in Asia and the Pacific.

Author: Asian Development Bank

Year: 2021

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Tags: ADB, Regional Cooperation, SASEC, Transport, Trade Facilitation, Energy

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