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Enhancing Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific

image of Enhancing Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific

It is argued that to further the development and the deepening of regional economic cooperation and integration (RECI) in the Asia-Pacific region can offer solutions to emerging challenges, such as quelling protectionist tendencies, mitigating rising inequalities, and addressing environmental degradation. Through enhancing regional connectivity for energy, transport and information and communications technology (ICT), and promoting regional cooperation in trade, financing and shared vulnerabilities, RECI offers enormous potential in generating trade, growth and employment, improving social outcomes and managing environmental risks and shared vulnerabilities. This presents the possibility to develop RECI as a critical enabler of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development in Asia and the Pacific.

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Why Asia and the Pacific needs to enhance regional economic cooperation and integration

At the first Ministerial Conference on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific, held in Bangkok from 17 to 20 December 2013, ministers, senior policymakers, representatives of members and associate members the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) adopted the Bangkok Declaration on Regional Economic Cooperation and Integration in Asia and the Pacific, which consists of four elements: (a) moving towards the formation of an integrated market; (b) development of seamless connectivity across the region; (c) enhancing financial cooperation; and (d) increasing economic cooperation to address shared vulnerabilities and risks.

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