Liberalising Health Services under the Proposed SAARC Framework Agreement on Trade in Services (SAFAS): Implications for South Asian Countries
Team: Afshan Ahmed
This study has been commissioned by the Center of Policy Dialogue In partnership with the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI). SDPI will be focusing on the country perspective of trade in health services and its potential within the framework of SAFAS .The countries from South Asia region taken to explore where potential will be explored includes Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Pakistan.
South Asian countries are already engaged in trade in health services within the region and have further potential for expansion of health services. Before taking steps to liberalise the services sector there is a need to identify the current state of potentials, weaknesses and constraints. A formal mechanism of integration of health services in the region within the SAFAS and GATS can be useful for countries of the region. The scope of the study is limited to exploring the possibilities of liberalizing the health sector under SAFAS which is WTO-GATS compatible and assesses associated risks of opening the domestic health service sector of the South Asian countries to the foreign providers of the health service. In terms of analytical approach the study will perform a Value Chain Analysis of the health sector in order to capture the whole range of activities in the health services sector that provides the final service to the patients. Through the value chain approach the major constraints and opportunities faced by the sector can be identified. The value chain framework will help to identify and analyze all the participants in the value chain and the dynamics of the relationships among them, which will in turn can be used as inputs for improvement of the health services in the region in terms of efficiency of services and benefits. The value chain analysis will also examine other factors influencing the performance of the sector, including the legal, regulatory and policy environment.