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Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2010

Recent Trends and Developments

image of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2010
This report identifies the challenges and opportunities for trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region concluding that with the right policies and strengthened regional cooperation, the region will be able to continue strong trade and investment-led growth. With the continued stalling of the international Doha Round of negotiations, regional trade agreements remain an important approach to controlling protectionism. A fresh look at the rules under these agreements is recommended. The report emphasizes that governments need to step up efforts to improve the environment for business and investment.

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Taking advantage of regional trade and investment agreements

The year 2010 has seen some historical “firsts” in terms of preferential trade agreements (PTAs) in Asia. On the one hand, China and Taiwan Province of China signed the Cross-Straits Economic Cooperation Framework Agreement. The European Union signed its first comprehensive FTA in Asia with the Republic of Korea. Hong Kong, China, after pursuing free trade only through unilateral and multilateral modalities for many years, finally signed its second FTA (in addition to the FTA with China) in 2010 with the European Free Trade Association (EFTA). Mongolia, the only WTO member in Asia not party to any FTA, is currently negotiating deals with Japan and has initiated procedures to accede to the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA). APTA Participating States, after adopting framework agreements in investment, trade facilitation and services, have started discussions to promote and facilitate investment prior to formal negotiations on an Agreement on the Promotion and Protection of Investment among APTA Participating States. Also noteworthy is that the ASEAN-China Free Trade Area became effective on 1 January 2010.

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