“South Asia in the WTO”

Research team

Saman Kelegama
View profile




The IPS Flagship Publication is available for sale from the IPS premises at No. 100/20, Independence Avenue, Colombo 07 (Tel: +94-11-2143107, +94-11-2143100), and bookshops island-wide. For more details, contact the IPS Publications Unit.



Published Year



US$ 35

The book examines the position of each South Asian country in the multilateral trading system as defined by the WTO and highlights various concerns South Asian countries have on key WTO issues in agriculture, industry, services, and development dimensions. The possibility of South Asian countries formulating a common position in the WTO negotiations is also explored in detail.

Foreword of the book as a pdf (PDF Format 367KB)

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction
Chapter 2: India and the WTO
Chapter 3: Pakistan and the WTO
Chapter 4: Sri Lanka and the WTO
Chapter 5: Bangladesh and the WTO
Chapter 6: Nepal and the WTO
Chapter 7: The Maldives and the WTO
Chapter 8: Bhutan and the WTO
Chapter 9: South Asia and the WTO
Reviews and Highlights in the media

Journal of South Asian Development 3:2 (2008): 297-336
Pages: 307 – 308

Reviewed by Baruch Ramirez-Rodriguez,
University of East Anglia – UK

The book comprises of nine chapters, seven of which are country dedicated, the introduction, and the final chapter where a panoramic view with some recommendations are presented. In the first line of the introduction Kelegama makes a distinction between what he calls developing and least developed countries amongst the seven in South Asia….
Review (PDF Format 740KB)
Review by Parashar Kulkarni

The Nation, 8 June, 2008–The Doha Round of WTO trade negotiations is moving at a slow pace, as the economic and political priorities of the world are elsewhere – the rise of inflation fuelled by oil and commodity prices, the risk of further global slowdown and the recent financial crisis in the West.
Review (PDF Format 26KB)
Review by Ashfak Bokhari

Dawn, 24 February, 2008 – South Asian countries started liberalising their economies unilaterally, or on the dictates of the IMF and World Bank, in the concluding decades of the 20th century. Sri Lanka was the first to go liberal in 1977. Pakistan embarked on the process in 1982, Bangladesh in the mid-1980s and India in a sporadic manner in the 1980s but in a full-fledged manner by the second half of 1991.
Review (PDF Format 125KB)
Review by Paras Kharel

Trade Insight, Vol. 4, No. 1, 2008 – South Asia, hosting 40 percent of the world’s poor, had pinned high hopes on the successful completion of the Doha Round of World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiations. The Doha Round is in limbo, yet the region has little option but to vigorously participate in the negotiations to ensure that if and when a deal is struck, it is not out of sync with its interests.
Download the news article (PDF Format 69KB)
“Sri Lanka for international trade, but domestic concerns will not be compromised”

Sunday Times, 13 January, 2008 – Sri Lanka is for international trade but domestic concerns like food security and rural job security will not be compromised for trade, said Sri Lanka’s International Trade Minister .
Download the news article (PDF Format 40KB)
“South Asian countries told to bargain collectively as WTO”

Sunday Times, 13 January, 2008 – There is room for South Asian countries to work together at world trade talks, say trade experts.
“There are many areas that South Asian countries can stand together at the WTO. So South Asian countries can identify these areas and speak as one voice in these areas and agree to disagree in other areas,” said Dr Saman Kelegama, the executive Director of the Institute of Policy Studies speaking at a press conference at the launch of a book titled “South Asia in the WTO”, in December.
Download the news article (PDF Format 31KB)
Review by Janak de Silva

Sunday Island, 23 December, 2007 – The WTO has become one of the most important international organizations of the modern era where like-minded-groups such as the G-20, G-90 and regional groups such as the EU and the African block play a pivotal role in the negotiations taking place within its framework.
Download the news article (PDF Format 873KB)
“WTO vital entity- Kelegama”

The Colombo Post, 11 December, 2007 – The Colombo Post, 11 December, 2007 – Although the South Asian region’s stake in world is meager compared to the EU and the US, the World Trade organization (WTO) is very important for South Asia said Dr. Saman Kelegama, Director of the Institute of Policy Studies (IPS).
Download the news article (PDF Format 60.5KB)
Launch of “WTO in South Asia”

Daily Mirror, 10 December, 2007 – It has been found that regional integration is low in South Asia region which has, as a result of its large population, emerged as an important player in the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the current negotiations under the Doha Round.
Download the news article (PDF Format 15KB)