Asia-pacific trade and investment report 2014

Recent Trends and Developments

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Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a major annual publication of the Trade and Investment Division of United Nations ESCAP. It provides information on and independent analyses of trends and developments in: (a) intra- and inter-regional trade in goods and services; (b) foreign direct investment; (c) trade facilitation measures; (d) trade policy measures; and (e) preferential trade policies and agreements. It provides insights into the impacts of these recent and emerging developments on countries’ abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It identifies and studies emerging issues in all these areas and offers innovative policy options towards building capacities of governments in the region to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. APTIR 2014 shows that, while the Asia-Pacific region remains the most dynamic pole of the global economy, growth in trade and investment has yet to return to pre-crisis levels. The Report is aimed at policymakers as well as practitioners and experts, academia, business, international agencies and non-governmental organizations working or interested in these issues in the Asia-Pacific region. It comes with separate country and subregional country briefs.



Executive summary

Trade growth in Asia and the Pacific continued to weaken in 2013. In the final two quarters of 2013, growth rates for exports and imports in the region were below global averages for the first time in a decade. Despite this slowdown, Asia and the Pacific has become the largest trading area in the world, accounting for close to 37% of world trade. More than half the total trade in the region is with other Asia-Pacific economies. China is the second-largest merchandise exporter and third-largest merchandise importer globally. More than 10 other developing economies of the region are in the global top 25 exporters and importers, alongside Japan and Australia. The overall economic performance of the region continues to outpace other parts of the world.


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