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Effects of regional trading agreements on South Asian trade: a Gravity model analysis

Authors:

P. Dembatapitiya ,

University of Peradeniya, LK
About P.
Postgraduate Institute of Agriculture
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J. Weerahewa

University of Peradeniya, LK
About J.
Department of Agricultural Economics and Business Management, Faculty of Agriculture
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Abstract

Regionalism in South Asia, through formation of regional and bilateral trading agreements, dates back to mid 1990s. The objective of this study is to assess the effects of various forms of trade agreements on bi-lateral trade of South Asia. Gravity model of international trade was used as the analytical tool and the effects of the World Trade Organization (WTO), Regional Trade Agreements (RTA) such as SAFTA, EU, ASEAN, BIMSTEC and NAFTA, and Bilateral Trade Agreements (BTA) were estimated. Three types of BTAs were included; between two South Asian countries, between a South Asian country and a country not in the region, and between two non-South Asian countries. Distance between the trading partners, sharing of common language, and colonial ties were the remaining explanatory variables included in the models. Cross sectional data covering 2555 bilateral trade for the year 2012 were used for the estimation and the data were extracted from the gravity databases of the Asia Pacific Research and Training Network, the World Bank and the WTO. The models were estimated using Ordinary Least Squares including importer and exporter fixed effects. The results of the estimation suggest that sharing of a common language, sharing a common colony, and membership of WTO positively and significantly affect export values and the effect of geographical distance, as expected, on the same has a negative effect. The memberships in BTA and RTA have mixed effects. Among RTAs used in the study, only the co-efficient for EU is statistically significant. SAFTA, ASEAN, BIMSTEC and NAFTA do not show significant effects on bilateral trade. The effects of all BTAs are positive and significant and they indicate that BTAs within South Asia enhance its regional trade greater than the BTAs with non-members. These results suggest that proliferation of BTAs within South Asia helped in expanding regional trade.

 

Tropical Agricultural Research Vol. 26 (3): 468 – 485 (2015)

Keywords: BTA gravity model RTA South Asia 
How to Cite: Dembatapitiya, P. & Weerahewa, J., (2015). Effects of regional trading agreements on South Asian trade: a Gravity model analysis. Tropical Agricultural Research. 26(3), pp.468–485. DOI: http://doi.org/10.4038/tar.v26i3.8110
Published on 20 Nov 2015.
Peer Reviewed

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