Highlights from the Final Day of Trade and Investment Week

22 November 2013

Asia-Pacific countries move towards strengthening regional cooperation in trade and investment

The Committee on Trade and Investment, attended by around 100 participants from member countries as well as international and non-governmental organizations, concluded today. The Committee adopted a Report requesting ESCAP to strengthen and expand relevant regional cooperation mechanisms and technical assistance activities to help countries of the region benefit from trade and investment. Main emphasis was put on trade and investment capacity-building for least developed countries to enhance their effective participation in regional trade and investment. Capacity-building of the private sector, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in particular, responsible business practices and the formation of effective public-private partnerships to address development challenges in the area of trade and investment were also identified as priority areas. In Addition, the Committee agreed to move forward with negotiation of the arrangement on facilitation of cross-border paperless trade. The arrangement will help cut barriers to trade in the region and assist in the adoption of more efficient trade practices, in particular cross-border electronic exchange of documents. The Committee also endorsed ESCAP's continuing work on making regional trade and investment more inclusive.

Training on Evidence-based Policymaking in Trade and Investment – Day 3

Policymaking is inherently a dynamic process. Policymakers should therefore take advantage of available evidence at all stages of the policymaking process including before and after implementation and in the ex-post assessment of results. The evidence should be sourced from quality research and applied analysis using the methodology most appropriate to the context of the policy issue at hand.

The training on evidence-based policymaking, which comprised two one-hour sessions on 20 and 21 November and one three-hour session on 22 November, illustrated how selected policy issues can be addressed through the most appropriate research approaches at different stages of the policymaking process. During the previous two days, the training covered the major findings of the 2013 Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report and its implications for inclusive trade and investment policymaking and included demonstrations of useful foreign direct investment databases, the ESCAP-World Bank trade cost databases and International Supply Chain Connectivity indicators.

Today, the 3-hour session of the training was dedicated to exploring the process of matching the right methodology to each particular policy question. Several available analytical tools were presented using concrete examples of their application in a free trade agreement impact assessment. The advantages and disadvantages of the available methodologies - ranging from descriptive indices to more complex quantitative models - were discussed. Learning from concrete examples has allowed participants to connect the policy issues arising during the dynamic policymaking process to the appropriate research tools.

Protecting the environment and respecting intellectual property rights – Day 2

The second day of the regional workshop on the environmentally safe disposal of intellectual property-Infringing goods concluded successfully today. Throughout the day experts from the ASEAN region and beyond provided valuable insights on how to best address the environmental effects of trade in intellectual property-Infringing goods including the disposal thereof. The discussions revolved on the importance of building partnerships between the public and private sector representatives and the various intergovernmental entities and organizations involved in the topic. Among others, ASEAN countries were encouraged to set up legal frameworks for the funding of the disposal and destruction of IP infringing goods. WIPO, ESCAP and UNEP are committed to continue their work individually and together on this important topic.