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SAARC, the road-map for economic co-operation from a European perspective

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The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is South Asia’s most prominent regional organisation. Since its inception over 25 years ago, though, SAARC has not been able to generate a great deal of South Asia-wide policy convergence except on a limited range of policy issues. In Saez (2011) it was argued that SAARC had been able to develop the basis for a framework of regional economic cooperation. The development of this framework for regional cooperation took a long time in the making, starting with the signing of the 1992 agreement on SAARC Preferential Trading Arrangement (SAPTA) and culminating with the 2004 agreement on South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA). In this chapter I will trace the parameters of South Asian economic cooperation and will argue that the South Asia example offers important lessons for Europe’s economic integration. Subsequently, I will also argue that the model of economic integration developed by the EU also offers some helpful reference on deepening economic integration in South Asia.




Sáez, L. (2014). SAARC, the road-map for economic co-operation from a European perspective. In The Merits of Regional Cooperation: The Case of South Asia (pp. 71–75). Springer International Publishing.

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