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Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2012

Recent Trends and Developments

image of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2012
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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Preferential trade policies and agreements

The trend in the proliferation of preferential trade agreements (PTAs), which was clearly established in the early 1990s, continued until the mid-2000s. It appears that the global economic crisis of 2008-2009 has not derailed the use of PTAs by Governments to secure access to foreign markets and defend domestic one. By the end of 2010, a combination of the economic crisis and a lack of progress in multilateral trading negotiation only increased PTA efforts. By October 2012 a total of 233 “physical” trade agreements were in force and notified to the WTO.1 Of that number, Asia-Pacific economies have contributed 117 agreements.

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