Report

The Indian Ocean rim association for regional co-operation: India takes the lead

1 Jun 2012
Description

The aim to enhance economic co-operation by stimulating intra-regional trade and investment, synergising competitive advantages in commodities, manufacturing and services, collection, classification and distribution of data and information, establishing a network among Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries and promoting standardisation and harmonisation in data, statistics and procedures.

Formed in 1997, the Indian Ocean Rim Association for Regional Co-operation (IOR-ARC) came into being thanks to a joint initiative of South Africa, India, Australia and Mauritius. Projecting an ambitious vision, the aim was to enhance economic co-operation by stimulating intra-regional trade and investment, synergising competitive advantages in commodities, manufacturing and services, collection, classification and distribution of data and information, establishing a network among Indian Ocean Region (IOR) countries and promoting standardisation and harmonisation in data, statistics and procedures.
Unlike organisations such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) or the AsiaPacific Economic Co-operation Forum (APEC), the proposed IOR-ARC did not, however, rest upon an existing record of economic interaction among the foreseen members. Furthermore, the sheer diversity in geography, culture and economic development made it appear an unrealistic and unwieldy entity. Almost 15 years later, in 2012, the IOR-ARC looks set for a revival. India and Australia are back in the leading seats as Chair and Vice-Chair respectively and, from a number of quarters, both from within and external to the Indian Ocean Region, there appears to be renewed interest in its potential.

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2012
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