The Trade Facilitation Agreement adopted by the WTO member countries at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013 highlights the importance of trade facilitation for international trade and the global economy. This paper provides a unique set of data on the progress made by 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific in implementing various trade facilitation and paperless trade measures in 2013/14, as well as estimates of the benefits from moving forward with implementation.
This report estimates the possible economic benefits—export gains, and cost savings—from partial or full implementation of cross-border paperless trade facilitation measures. Simulation results suggest that cross-border paperless trade has significant potential to reduce trade costs and boost trade in the Asia-Pacific region.
This paper examines how freedom of transit and transit facilitation are addressed in trade and transport (as well as transit-specific) agreements in the ESCAP region. The objective is to identify good practices and understand the extent to which existing agreements meet the transit facilitation provisions set out in the draft text of the WTO trade facilitation agreement (TFA).
International trade has been the main engine of economic growth for the majority of economies in the Asia-Pacific region, enabling them to significantly reduce poverty during the past two decades. In the long term, trade liberalization is likely to foster improvements in technology, foreign direct investment, business networks, competition as well as efficient and cost-effective production, all of which go a long way towards promoting economic growth. In turn, economic growth is regarded as a key determinant of sustained poverty alleviation.
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.
Trade has the potential to contribute to economic growth and to more and better jobs. Whether trade contributes to growth that is inclusive, in the sense that all people can contribute to and benefit from growth triggered by trade, is likely to depend on country specificities including institutional pre-conditions and policies applied in domains other than trade. This paper identifies specific challenges for making trade inclusive and identifies ways for dealing with them.
This book, co-published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB), provides guidance for the implementation of trade facilitation measures and reforms in Asia and the Pacific. It attempts to bridge the gaps among policy makers, practitioners, and economists by outlining operational guidance on how to assess the status of trade facilitation, what measures and reforms are necessary, and how to implement them at the national and regional levels.
The fact that the Asia-Pacific region hosts both the most and least efficient economies in conducting international trade transactions is generally well-known. However, information on the actual implementation of specific trade facilitation reforms in the Asia-Pacific developing economies is generally lacking.
The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a recurrent publication prepared by the Trade and Investment Division. It aims to deepen understanding of regional trends and developments in trade and investment; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies; and impacts of these policies on countries’ abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. APTIR 2012 focuses on trends and developments in the economies of Asia and the Pacific in their post-recovery from the 2008-2009 crisis and trade collapse.
Agriculture remains the backbone of most Asia-Pacific developing economies and approximately 50% of the Asian working population is employed in the agricultural sector. In view of the export potential of agricultural products in the region, it is urgent to reduce trade costs in this sector, particularly since they are typically twice as high as those for manufactured goods. Agricultural trade costs within each of the different Asian subregions and country groups are not found to differ sharply, particularly when tariff costs are excluded.