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'Asia-Pacific trade and investment slowing down'
03
Nov '15
Courtesy: United Nation ESCAP
Courtesy: United Nation ESCAP
Asia and the Pacific remains the most dynamic region of the global economy but growth in regional trade and investment flows is slowing, the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said in its latest regional trade and investment outlook report.

The report emphasizes that countries need to adjust to both cyclical and structural changes, especially in light of the global slowdown and an expected reduction in China's growth rate.

Total exports and imports from the region grew by only 1.6 per cent in 2014, however, when excluding China from the regional total, exports from the Asia-Pacific region registered a decline of 0.4 per cent according to the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2015 ESCAP's annual flagship publication. “The continued sluggish pace of trade and investment growth in the region is impacting the prospects of a merchandise trade recovery in the near-term. Despite this, the Asia-Pacific region stands out for its significant and sustained achievements in leveraging trade and investment flows for development,” the report said.

Launching the report in Bangkok, UN Under-Secretary-General and ESCAP Executive Secretary Dr. Shamshad Akhtar emphasized the importance of reviving trade and investment flows at a time when Member States have recently endorsed the centrality of trade and investment, as critical means of implementation for the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Dr. Akhtar called on regional policymakers to enhance competitiveness in order to promote inward investment and technology.

“The data and analysis in the 2015 Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report will help to mainstream trade considerations, as we work towards achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals,” said Dr. Akhtar.

“Production fragmentation across national borders as part of Global Value Chains (GVCs) has opened new opportunities for developing countries to integrate in global trade. In order to prosper in this globalized environment, countries will need to boost competitiveness and productivity to attract inward investment and technology, and find areas where they can successfully integrate in these value chains.”

Despite the lowering of trade growth prospects, it is likely that the Asia-Pacific region will hold its position as the largest trading region in the world. In 2014, the region accounted for almost 40 per cent of global exports and imports. Intraregional imports remained at slightly more than 50 per cent of the total in 2014, with intraregional exports at 54 per cent.

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