North-East Asia Forum on Trade and Transport Facilitation
At the recent United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, the Heads of State and Government and high-level representatives reaffirmed that international trade is an engine for development and sustained economic growth. In North-East Asia, participation in global production networks has greatly increased trade among China, Japan and the Republic of Korea, although linkages with Mongolia and the Russian Federation are much less developed and harbour huge potential for future growth. North-East Asia also exhibits strong product complementarity (highest in all of Asia and the Pacific), which enhances the potential benefits of subregional trade
However, the economies in North-East Asia are trading less with each other than expected, due to high trade costs. In particular, non-tariff costs related to fulfilling regulatory requirements and domestic and international shipping and logistics costs, including of international intermodal transit transport, limit the volume of trade. While tariff barriers have decreased significantly, and will decrease further with the growing number of Free and Preferential Trade Agreements under discussion in the subregion, non-tariff barriers remain high.
The challenge for the subregion is to identify improvements in institutional setups, regulatory frameworks, logistics services and related infrastructure that can lower trade and transport costs and enhance trade flows, in the broader context of national and international strategies to promote sustainable development.
The North-East Asia Forum on Trade and Transport Facilitation is jointly organized by ESCAP Subregional Office for East and North-East Asia and GTI, as a follow-up to the
High-Level Workshop on Mongolian Trade Corridors in October 2011 and the Seminar and Inaugural Meeting of the GTI Trade Facilitation Committee in November 2011. At the two
meetings, participants voiced the need for greater subregional cooperation to enhance trade flows, as well as for greater partnership and communication between the public sector and the business community in order to make trade policies responsive and effective.
The forum brings together public and private sector stakeholders from North-East Asia, including China, Japan, Mongolia, Republic of Korea and Russian Federation, to share perspectives and practices on trade and transport facilitation and develop recommendations for closer cooperation. The Forum is organized as a series of three meetings:
• Private-Public Dialogue on Trade Facilitation This meeting is organized with the aim of providing (i) a better understanding of trade facilitation in the context of the Subregion and importance of public private cooperation; (ii) more effective engagement between the public sector and the business community to promote information sharing on good practices and new government initiatives; (iii) Identification and discussion of major challenges facing the trading community; and (iv) Recommendations for public private cooperation in trade and transport facilitation.
• Second Meeting of the GTI Trade Facilitation Committee The Second TFC meeting will review progress made on GTI activities approved at the First TFC Meeting and produce concrete recommendations and proposals to reduce trade barriers and increase trade and investment flows in the Greater Tumen Region.
• Seminar on the Development and Facilitation of International Intermodal Transport in North-East Asia This seminar aims to increase awareness of the benefits and opportunities for improving efficiency of international intermodal transit transport in North-East Asia through the application of the TIR Convention and other instruments.
The Forum is organized with support from the Ministry of Finance and Strategy, Republic of Korea, Korea International Trade Association (KITA), and UNNExT.