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.



Liberalization or protection: Trade policy at a crossroads

Trade policies in the Asian and Pacific economies show signs of both protectionist and liberalizing tendencies with the overall outlook uncertain. The latter half of 2013 and the first half of 2014 have seen some positive signs of renewed interest in liberalization suggesting that post-2008 crisis pressures for the protection of domestic producers may be weakening. In the major G20 economies, the pace of introducing new trade-restrictive measures recorded by WTO had at least plateaued in the six months up to May 2014 (WTO, 2014a). At the same time, more liberalizing efforts were also recorded. Separately, the regional trade policy environment continues to be shaped by the negotiation of large preferential trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) (see chapter 6 for more details).


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