BANGKOK (ESCAP News) — Ministers from countries party to the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) met during the Fourth APTA Ministerial Council today to conclude negotiations that will more than double the number of products under preferential tariff treatment in order to expand trade and boost growth in the region. The Fourth APTA Ministerial Council was organized by the United Nations Economic and Social Council for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) which acts as secretariat for the Agreement.
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.
Lautoka, Fiji – Twenty legal, trade and health department representatives from across the Pacific are in Fiji this week to examine the Non-Communicable Disease (NCD) burden in the region and the role of the law in preventing and controlling NCDs, particularly in the context of developing coherence between health, trade and investment laws, policies and sectors.
The Law, NCD, Trade and Sustainable Development workshop, a first for the region, is jointly organized by the McCabe Centre for Law and Cancer, United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) Pacific Office in Fiji, World Health Organisation (WHO) and the Pacific Community (SPC) with support from the Government of Australia.
Heart disease, cancers, lung disease and diabetes are the leading causes of death in the Pacific region with most Pacific Islands countries losing their productive citizens to NCDs.
United Nations human rights expert Alfred de Zayas called on Governments not to sign the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) without reaffirming their human rights treaty obligations and their recent pledges to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals. “The TPP is fundamentally flawed and should not be signed or ratified unless provision is made to guarantee the regulatory space of States,” said the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order in a statement* Continue reading →
Senior government representatives from more than 30 Asia-Pacific countries ended three days of United Nations-sponsored talks in Bangkok this week, calling for strengthened regional cooperation in trade and investment with a special focus on realizing the role of trade and investment in achieving the new Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Continue reading →
The Trade and Development Report 2015: Making the International Financial Architecture Work for Trade and Development, identifies some of the critical issues to be addressed in order to establish a more stable and inclusive international monetary and financial system which can support trade and development challenges over the coming years. The Report considers existing shortcomings, analyses emerging vulnerabilities and examines proposals and initiatives for reform. Continue reading →