ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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What Holds Back Manufacturing in South Asia

The recent South Asian (other than that of Bangladesh) experience of a growing merchandise trade deficit and the challenge of job creation have forced attention back on the role of manufacturing. Bangladesh has been able to successfully capture a large share of the global exports of ready-made garments, driven by low labour costs. Sri Lanka has become a major producer of middle- to high-end lingerie, though its overall export performance has weakened in recent years. In contrast, India and Pakistan have been proportionately less successful as exporters of manufactures. What are the commonalities and differences among these countries in the South Asian region? What set of policies will help the growth of manufacturing in these countries?

The responsibility for the opinions expressed in this article rests solely with the authors. Publication does not constitute an endorsement by the International Labour Organization. SARNET, the South Asia Research Network on Employment and Social Protection for Inclusive Growth, set up by the Institute for Human Development, ILO South Asia Decent Work Team, the UN-ESCAP SSWA Offi ce and IDRC, Canada, organised a panel on "Manufacturing in South Asia" at the Annual Conference of the Indian Society of Labour Economics in December 2013 at Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. This paper is developed from presentations made in that panel.

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