Executive summary

International trade and investment have enabled many countries in the Asia-Pacific region to boost economic growth and have lifted millions out of poverty. As the Asia-Pacific region continues to thrive economically, trade and investment barriers are being dissolved and eliminated. As countries begin to depend on each other more, trade policy is gradually becoming a useful measure to achieve inclusive and sustainable development. Trade and investment are linked to the environment (e,g., causing environmental degradation, which can hinder trade in environmentally-friendly goods and technologies) and social issues (e.g., gender, employment, reducing poverty); hence, their impacts are also multidimensional. It has now been recognized that sustainable production and consumption are essential for sustainable development. Countries realize that they are not able to approach global and regional problems on their own and require cooperation, both at the level of government and business. As a result, the region has been active in concluding regional cooperation frameworks which routinely are centered on trade and investment. In the meantime, business has forged regional integration through the formation of regional value chains and production networks while governments have paved the way for the expansion of such production networks through the formation of regional trade agreements and economic partnerships. Thus, with regard to economic integration the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), which is the oldest preferential trade agreement in the region with a large consumer base, can play an important role in filling this gap.

Sustainable Development Goals:
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