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.



Merchandise trade remains subdued

This chapter provides an analysis of recent trends in trade in goods of the Asia-Pacific region which is now the largest trading region in the world. With a 38% share of world exports and 37% of world imports. Recent developments reveal that growth in merchandise trade in the Asia-Pacific region continued to slow down in 2013 and pressures are mounting on trade prospects for the Asia-Pacific region. As the region is not immune to global economic uncertainties, the need to focus on long-term strategies for securing benefits from new and emerging forms of trade and production has never been greater. From the analysis, which is based on newly available data on trade in value-added, this chapter highlights the fact that in order to enhance the competitiveness position of a country in the world of globalized production focus needs to be placed on raising domestic value-added rather than just increasing gross exports. Failure to distinguish between gross exports and domestic value-added in exports can lead to misguided trade and industrial policies.


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