As the persistent slowdown becomes the new normal for advanced economies and as the centre of gravity of the world economy shifts eastwards, regionalism within and between subregions becomes a critical strategy for sustaining the Asia-Pacific region’s dynamism. With intraregional trade stagnating at around 6% of total trade of the subregion, the bulk of South Asia’s intraregional potential remains to be exploited. Broad-based regional economic cooperation could enable far more effective responses to the subregion’s developmental challenges. Under the framework of regional economic cooperation and integration, key priorities for the subregion are intraregional trade and investment flows, transport and information and communication technology (ICT) connectivity, and financial integration, as well as subregionally coordinated policies for addressing shared vulnerabilities such as food insecurity and disaster risks. Progress in these areas would help prepare the subregion to better participate in and benefit from broader regionalism in Asia and the Pacific.

Related Subject(s): Economic and Social Development
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