Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2009

Trade-Led Recovery and Beyond

image of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2009

When the economic crisis hit Asia and the Pacific in the course of 2008, exports and economic growth rates tumbled while unemployment rose sharply and results for 2009 look set to be even worse. The objective of this report is to sensitize policymakers to various trade policy tools which could be used to counter the economic and social impact of the crisis and achieve long-term inclusive and sustainable development. It analyses the role of trade in development, looks at the role of government and business in trade for development, and explores the various modalities of trade policy. In this regard, the report reviews the role of the multilateral trading system and regional trade agreements in enhancing both global and intraregional trade. It discusses the importance of trade facilitation and availability of trade finance in times of crisis and beyond.



Business survival and development

Over the past decades, the majority of Asia-Pacific developing countries have focused on fostering their domestic business sectors as the engine of growth. They have typically followed export-led development strategies, while promoting foreign direct investment (FDI) inflows, mainly into the manufacturing sector. Combining supply-side capacity-building with utilizing natural resource endowments, low cost labour, stable demand and improved access to major export markets in the world, these strategies have accelerated the volume and value of export operations in the region. In addition, the region has become increasingly attractive to investors: capital inflows to Asia and the Pacific have rapidly increased since the late 1990s, mainly consisting of substantial inflows of FDI and, to a lesser extent, commercial loans, portfolio investment and official development assistance (ODA), which have fostered business sector development in the region. Overall, these factors have generally resulted in increased export competitiveness of Asian and Pacific developing countries, including those heavily hit by the Asian financial crisis during 1997 and 1998.


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