Facilitating Agricultural Trade in Asia and the Pacific, Studies in Trade and Investment No. 74
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. A number of constraints act as barriers to realizing the trade potential of the Asia-Pacific region: cumbersome trade procedures, inadequate compliance to product standards, poor trade logistics and lack of financing for agricultural trade. The status of least developed and landlocked developing countries are worse in many of these categories. Some Asia-Pacific countries have adopted effective measures to deal with their national bottlenecks, mostly based on simplifying procedures, introducing paperless trade transactions, improving quality infrastructure and introducing innovative financing mechanisms. Still, many countries in this region lag behind in facilitating agricultural trade and will need to adopt similar measures.