Government representatives from some 30 countries in the Asia-Pacific region today sought United Nations assistance in their efforts to have bottlenecks to intra-regional trade and investment removed to foster growth, particularly in the poorest nations.
At the end of a three-day meeting in Bangkok of the Committee on Trade and Investment, a regional policymakers’ forum convened biannually by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), delegates also highlighted the need for UN support to help developing countries realize their huge potential for trade and investment in low-carbon goods, technologies and services.
Discussions focused on how developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region can take advantage of emerging opportunities to maintain the growth in trade and investment that has played a key role in the global economic recovery over the past year.
Measures recommended by the forum for ESCAP action range from simplification of trade procedures, compliance with agricultural product standards, to ensuring that small and medium-sized enterprises have a greater share in international trade.
The discussions were informed by the findings of the ESCAP Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report released earlier this week, which highlighted the need for the region to reduce export reliance on developed world markets, and to ensure that all countries in the region have an adequate share in its fast-growing trade and investment.
The committee emphasized the importance of trade facilitation to reduce the cost of transit, documentation, customs clearance and other non-tariff barriers, including cumbersome standards and certification requirements. To facilitate cross-border trade, the committee called for a regional agreement on electronic trade data and document exchange for the Asia-Pacific region.
Countries in the region agreed that trade and investment in low-carbon goods, services and technologies can help in the mitigation and adaptation to climate change, but also took note of the constraints faced by developing countries in that regard.
Governments have an important role in providing policy support, in particular, high quality regulatory framework to attract climate-friendly investment, the delegates stressed.