Myanmar is emerging from decades of military rule, central planning and economic isolation as it implements political and economic reforms and, as a result, faces fewer international sanctions. The country has great potential for rapid development due to its vast natural resources, abundant labour force and geostrategic location. Capitalizing on these assets to achieve its goal requires well-implemented regulatory and institutional reform.
Myanmar holds considerable promise, for businesses both domestic and foreign, as well as for development practitioners, confident of seeing a rapid transformation in economic conditions and quality of life in general. Nevertheless, while the country has attracted substantial interest from around the world, there are still many gaps in knowledge. In-depth information about the conditions facing the private sector, as well as the perspectives of the various members of the private sector, is still in the process of being uncovered.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It provides information on and independent analyses of trends and developments in: (a) intra- and inter-regional trade in goods and services; (b) foreign direct investment; (c) trade facilitation measures; (d) trade policy measures; and (e) preferential trade policies and agreements.
During the past three decades, the development of highly integrated global value chains in which products are supplied, manufactured and distributed across national boundaries have created a new form of division of labour among Asian economies, especially in North-East and South-East Asia. The rapid growth of global value chains has dramatically changed production patterns, international trade and foreign direct investment in the region, with a notable expansion of intraregional trade through multiple border crossings of parts and components.
The present document is based on the forthcoming Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013 (henceforth the Report), which is the main substantive document prepared for the third session of the Committee on Trade and Investment. The Report comprises two parts. In the first part, there is a focus on trends and developments in trade in merchandise and commercial services, foreign direct investment flows, performance in trade facilitation, and reliance on preferential policies and trade agreements from an Asia-Pacific perspective.
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs), including micro enterprises, have emerged as an engine of growth for most countries of Asia and the Pacific. Their contribution is well known particularly for increasing production, export and employment, and thus income generation. Above all, SMEs serve as a seed bed for enterprise development. Each country has evolved its own policy, institutional framework and support mechanism suiting its needs, stage of development, ethos, culture and understanding of SMEs role.
Managing climate change caused by greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions has been recognized as one of the world's greatest challenges in current times, in particular in Asia and the Pacific which accounts for most of the world's GHG emissions. Without urgent action to curb such emissions, climate change will be more severe resulting in larger global temperature rises.
The growth of agricultural trade has direct implications for the Asia-Pacific region. Agricultural supply chains employ millions of people and there is a growing need for food commodities and high-value food products. The Asia-Pacific region is both a major consumer and producer of agricultural products. Its growth in both imports and exports is accelerating, but not to the potential. There is significant opportunity in this region to expand agro-trade especially due to population growth, dietary change of consumers and trade of high-value products.
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have played an important role in South Asia and remain a critical source for employment creation as well as income generation. SMEs occupy an important position in the development strategy for inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction. In this respect, export-oriented SMEs, supplying competitive products and services with greater potential for backward and forward linkages, would substantially contribute towards higher national income and overall socio-economic progress of nations.