Bangkok (ESCAP News) — The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (ESCAP) recently released Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2016 highlights that the region’s trade flows are wavering amid sluggish global economic and trade growth, downward movement of world commodity prices and an uncertain policy environment. This situation comes at a time when the need for trade growth to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development could not be more critical.
Although the volume of exports of goods grew at 3 per cent in 2015, the nominal value of exports and imports by the Asia-Pacific region experienced a major slump in 2015, of 9.7 per cent and 15 per cent, respectively. Sluggish growth in trade is expected to continue through to the end of 2016. Rebounding somewhat, exports are expected to increase by 4.5 per cent and imports by 6.5 per cent in developing countries of Asia and the Pacific in 2017, but the Report forecasts more modest growth in exports and imports in volume terms, at 2.2 per cent and 3.8 per cent, respectively.
“Trade is the key driver of economic activity in Asia and the Pacific,” stated Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP.