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Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016

Recent Trends and Developments

image of Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016

The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR) is a major annual publication of the Trade, Investment and Innovation Division of United Nations ESCAP. It aims to deepen understanding of trends and developments in trade and investment in the Asia-Pacific region; emerging issues in trade, investment and trade facilitation policies, and impacts of these policies on countries' abilities to meet the challenges of achieving inclusive and sustainable development. It offers innovative policy options to meet the challenges of achieving sustainable trade and investment. APTIR 2016 shows that 2015-2016 has been a worrying period for trade and investment n the Asia-Pacific region and worldwide, and there are few signs that the current economic and trade slowdown is simply a temporary phenomenon. Instead, this pattern may be the result of a change in the fundamental structure of world trade, which might lead to a persistent trade stagnation. On the other hand, good progress was made, especially at the regional level, with furthering cross-border paperless trade as one of the approached to deal with the upward pressure on the trade costs. Special feature of this volume is a chapter on digital trade in Asia-Pacific. Accepting the rising importance of e-commerce as a new trade platform, there is opening for the possible changes in the focus of trade and investment policies in order to leverage the potential of e-commerce to support intraregional trade.

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Trade facilitation in Asia and the Pacific: An update

Trade facilitation and the reduction of international trade transaction costs remain an important priority for many countries of the Asian and Pacific region. Two thirds of the Asia-Pacific members of WTO have now ratified the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and are well on their way towards its implementation. In addition, ESCAP member States, in May 2016 finalized the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (Framework Agreement). This unique and innovative instrument is expected to greatly support the region in maintaining its trade competitiveness and reaping the benefits from the fast-growing digital economy. The Framework Agreement encourages continued progress by early adopters of cross-border paperless trade, while also lowering the barriers to entry for late movers. This is particularly important given the wide range of capabilities for trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation in the Asia-Pacific region.

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