Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report

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News:The Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2019 has been released.

Facts:

About the report:

  • The report has been published by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific(ESCAP) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD).
  • The report provides information on 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.

Highlights from the report:

  • The report has said that the Non-tariff measures (NTMs) have increased in the past two decades and are affecting trade as well sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Asian countries.
  • Around half the Asia-Pacific’s economies have at least one NTM addressing water and energy efficiency and only 10% have measures addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated(IUU) fishing and illegal timber trade.
  • NTMs can also affect foreign direct investment negatively which may slow down countries’ economic activities.It can also have a direct impact on the performance of trading partners. 

Suggestions:

  • The report has called for increasing cooperation with developed economies to work out regional mechanisms and developing common guidelines on sustainability impact assessment of NTMs.
  • The report has also recommended reviewing current NTMs and ensuring that new NTMs are systematically follows and monitored. 
  • The report also said that the implementation of NTMs in the right spirit can help in achieving SDGs.

Additional information:

What are Non-tariff measures(NTM)?:

  • Non-tariff measures (NTMs) are policy measures other than ordinary customs tariffs that can potentially have an economic effect on international trade in goods, changing quantities traded, or prices or both.

Examples of NTM:

  • Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures:These are measures that are applied to protect human or animal life from risks arising from: additives, contaminants, toxins or disease-causing organisms in food.
  • Technical Barriers to Trade:These are measures referring to technical regulations, and procedures for assessment of conformity with technical regulations and standards.

About UNESCAP:

  • The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.
  • It has 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members from Asia-Pacific Region including India.It serves as the UN ‘s regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.

About UNCTAD:

  • UNCTAD is a permanent intergovernmental body established by the United Nations General Assembly in 1964.
  • It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and part of the UN Secretariat.
  • It was formed specifically to handle the problems of developing countries dealing with trade, investment and development issues.