DA9 Project: Enhancing the Contribution of Preferential Trade Agreements to Inclusive and Equitable Trade
Expanding trade and investment has driven growth in many developing countries. High growth has contributed to major reductions in poverty and improvements in overall welfare in the Asia-Pacific as in other regions. However, substantial variations in performance among countries persist and, as a consequence, not all countries - and much less all groups and individuals within countries - have been able to benefit equally from trade. In particular, least developed countries, landlocked developing countries, and other countries with special needs, have not benefited from trade as much as some other developing countries.
In order for these countries to foster further economic and social development, they need better access to markets alongside further development of productive and supply capacity.
PTAs have the potential to promote growth, employment and social welfare. Enhanced access to markets may create trade opportunities, boost trade volumes and facilitate regional integration. Larger, more competitive markets can also benefit consumers by providing more varied and cheaper goods and services. PTAs may offer developing countries opportunities to modernize and upgrade their domestic regulation in particular for the services sector, investment and competition with a view to greater economic efficiency.
The project intends to focus on six countries out of a group of nine identified countries that exhibit the most urgent demand for assistance and support, and have potential to benefit from project and the PTAs. In order to provide a larger and more sustainable impact, all materials created for evidence-based policymaking and other capacity building programmes will be made publicly available in a user-friendly format through knowledge-sharing platforms such as the online PTA database known as the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Agreements Database (APTIAD).
Additionally, using the established approach of ARTNeT (The Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade) and UNNExT (UN Network of Experts for Paperless Trade), an advisory board of preferential liberalization experts will be established to provide ongoing support for governments and other public and private stakeholders in the PTA process. This board is expected to be sustained in the longer-term by utilization of in-kind contributions creating the potential for operating on a self-funding basis. The advisory board will draw part of its membership from the ARTNeT and UNNExT network of scholars, knowledge communities and trade and development practitioners who have already demonstrated a willingness to provide advice and assistance to governments on these issues.