Reducing Trade Costs In Asia-Pacific Developing Countries

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This publication evaluates the current level of trade costs in the Asia-Pacific region and outlines recent evidence with regard to the impacts of various trade facilitation measures in reducing trade costs. Part I provides an overview of trade costs in Asia and the Pacific, based on the most recent update of the ESCAP-World Bank Trade Cost Database. Policies and factors affecting international trade costs are identified. Key findings and implications from a micro-level analysis of trade procedures in a wide range of Asia-Pacific developing economies are presented. Highlights and recommendations from some of the most recent ESCAP studies on trade facilitation and trade costs in Asia-Pacific are also summarized. Part II features abbreviated versions of five individual ESCAP studies summarized in Part I.




International trade has been a major engine in economic growth and development in Asia and the Pacific. At the same time, rising inequality within and between countries of the region, together with a significant slowdown in economic growth in major export markets during the past decade, suggest that new and better ways to trade are needed to enable the region to maintain competitiveness as well as achieve sustainable and inclusive development. The International Trade Cost Database, maintained by ESCAP, in collaboration with the World Bank, reveals that although tariffs on trade for many countries and subregions in Asia and the Pacific are at historic lows, overall trade costs continue to remain excessively high. Further efforts to reduce transaction costs are necessary in order to ensure that more economies, firms and people can benefit from trade and participation in international production networks.


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