Food and Agricultural Trade in the GCC: An opportunity for South Asia?
Oman - 9 April 2018
The purpose of the present study is to assess the export potential of food and agricultural items from South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) countries to the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries. We investigated the pattern of trade between the two regions using trade indices and trade data for HS 1–24 categories and also estimated a gravity equation to determine the factors affecting bilateral trade. We extracted UN ComTrade data on exports from the Trademap and the WITS database was used to retrieve data in trade intensities. The results of the descriptive analysis show that India has an advantageous position to achieve more gains from increasing GCC-SAARC food and agricultural trade. The results of the estimation of the gravity equation indicate that the conventional trade cost variables have significant effects on total and food and agricultural trade and India have the highest potential for increasing food and agricultural exports to GCC countries. Further economic cooperation between the GCC and India in the form of a regional integration scheme would enhance trade and food security in the region.