Publication: Unleashing E-Commerce for South Asian Integration
This report is part of a broader work program on shaping a more positive narrative on regional integration in South Asia. It is a follow-up to a recent flagship report published by the South Asia Region of the World Bank, A Glass Half Full: The Promise of Regional Trade in South Asia. E-commerce is dramatically changing the way goods and services are transacted nationally, regionally, and globally. It facilitates international trade by reducing the cost of distance and remoteness and can be more inclusive of underrepresented groups such as women, small businesses, and rural entrepreneurs. Intraregional trade in South Asia is still below its potential, and the region lags behind other parts of the world in activating the potential benefits from e-commerce. Adopting a novel yet practical approach, this report explores how e-commerce can be boosted to deepen intraregional trade in South Asia. It examines the main transacting models in the digital space and the channels through which e-commerce helps reduce transactions costs for firms and consumers. It considers the regulations, as well as the regulatory gaps, affecting private sector participation in e-commerce, focusing on data privacy, consumer protection, delivery, cybersecurity, market-access regulations, and digital payments. Finally, the report presents recommendations for regulatory reforms that could enhance e-trade, especially in a regional context and as a possible platform for greater global engagement by South Asian firms. The scale of these recommendations ranges from the modest, such as allowing cross-border payments and streamlining the customs regime, to the more ambitious, such as allowing the operation of regional e-commerce platforms and liberalizing related cross-border logistics services.
Link to Data Set
“Kathuria, Sanjay; Grover, Arti; Perego, Viviana Maria Eugenia; Mattoo, Aaditya; Banerjee, Pritam; Mattoo, Aaditya. 2020. Unleashing E-Commerce for South Asian Integration. International Development in Focus;. © Washington, DC: World Bank. http://hdl.handle.net/10986/32718 License: CC BY 3.0 IGO.”