ESCAP trade and investment forum helps Asia-Pacific countries identify post-crisis business opportunities

Policy makers, business leaders and experts from Asia-Pacific countries began discussions today in Bangkok at the Asia-Pacific Business Forum 2011(APBF) to identify trade and investment opportunities to help sustain the region’s lead role in the global economic recovery.
“The business community in the region will have to continuously demonstrate innovative and productive approaches to convert post-crisis challenges to opportunities,” Dr. Noeleen Heyzer, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), told the APBF. Over 400 government and business leaders are discussing how Asia-Pacific developing countries can benefit from the current economic environment to boost business investment and trade within the region, and at the same time, ensure that this reduces wide socio-economic development gaps and promotes sustainable and inclusive growth.

The APBF, along with the Committee on Trade and Investment – an annual regional forum for policy makers and stakeholders – are two key events during the 25 to 29 July Second Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Week organized by ESCAP with the theme “Post-Crisis Trade and Investment Opportunities for Asia and the Pacific.”

The Week will also feature the launch of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011 on 25 July, and a first ever Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Fair from 25 to 29 July to showcase trade and investment programmes, products and services from across the region. Other events include a symposium by the ESCAP supported regional trade research network ARTNeT, entitled “Towards a return of industrial policy?”

Collaborating partners for the Trade and Investment Week include the World Trade Organization (WTO), Asian Development Bank (ADB), UN Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), International Business Leaders Forum (IBLF), the Joint Standing Committee on Commerce, Industry and Banking of Thailand (JSCCIB), the Greater Mekong Subregion Business Forum (GMS-BF), End Human Trafficking Now (EHTN), Global Business Initiative on Human Rights and the Mekong institute.

The focus is on policy measures needed to stimulate the growth of a sustainable and internationally competitive business environment in the Asia-Pacific region as it recovers from the global economic crisis.

“The region is facing uncertainties in the post-crisis era, such as climate change, inflation pressures driven by food and energy price increases, foreign exchange volatilities, the effects of natural disasters and sluggish demand in developed economies,” Dr. Heyzer told the forum.

The ABPF will identify policy options and opportunities to promote business and commerce at both regional and national levels. The APBF recommendations will be reviewed by the ESCAP Committee on Trade and Investment which will meet from 27 to 29 July.

The Week will also promote business participation in preventing social exploitation. A business luncheon on “Ending Human Trafficking is Smart Business” will be organized on 26 July in cooperation with EHTN, the first global initiative to engage the private sector in anti-trafficking efforts. Participants will share experiences and methods to identify and prevent trafficking in the workplace.
For more information on the Week and its various sub-events, see: http://www.unescap.org/tid/apbf/index.asp http://www.unescap.org/tid/tiweek2011.asp