Trade and Transport Facilitation Audit in South Asia

SAWTEE implemented the project Trade and transport facilitation audit in South Asia from Jun 2013 to Jun 2016. The project was designed against the poor state of trade and transport facilitation and associated high costs in South Asia. Through research and other activities, the project aimed to create a conducive environment for the reduction of trade costs in South Asia—both for intra-regional and international trade; contribute to enhanced intra-regional trade and improved trade relations amongst countries in the region; contribute to enhanced employment opportunities through improved trade and investment prospects; define a regional benchmark for an acceptable level of trade and transport facilitation in South Asia; identify trade- and transport-related bottlenecks in the region and assess the benefits of removing these bottlenecks based on the regional benchmark, and estimate the required investment; and create a network of reform-minded organizations/professionals from public sector, private sector, academia and civil society in South Asia as well as outside the region. Study methodology and a toolkit was developed by SAWTEE. Trainings of researchers from partner institutions that would undertake the national level studies in respective countries were carried out. Accordingly, national level trade and transport facilitation studies were undertaken in the select countries. The studies highlighted the trade and transport facilitation-related infrastrucure gaps. They also estimated the public sector investment needs to address some of the prioritised infrastructure gaps. The draft of the studies were discussed with stakeholders by organising national level consultations in the select countries. Regional consultation was also organised to disseminate the findings. Country studies and a regional synthesis report based on the country studies were produced.