Asia-Pacific developing countries have a huge stake in ensuring that regional and global systems of trade and investments remain open. Market forces have driven the region’s hallmark rapid economic growth, led by its two locomotives, China and India. Increases in foreign direct investments and multinational intra- industry trade played a prominent role, while a healthy appetite for imports in the US in particular, assured the region of final destination markets and kept Asia’s locomotives churning.
Post-Multifibre Arrangement Adjustments and China: After all, the Emperor is wearing no new clothes?
The trade regime in textile and apparel appears to be emerging in ways which are quite different from what had been widely anticipated before the termination of the Agreement on Textiles and Clothing (ATC). Since the end of ATC, there has been growing and spreading set of trade restrictions targeted primarily at China, the largest shipper of textile and apparel, through a series of adjustment resisting agreements. This policy brief discusses the evolution of these agreements and draws parallels to those under the older Multifibre Arrangement (MFA).
Trade and investment liberalization and the development of small and medium enterprises: A perspective from Indonesia
In most Asian economies, small and medium-size enterprises (SMEs) are considered as the engine of economic growth by virtue of their sheer number as well as significant economic and social contributions. The role of these enterprises in industrial development in Asia is more pronounced than in Europe or North America. The contribution of SMEs in developing Asia is vital in as much as they make up about 80 per cent of all non-agricultural enterprises, yet generate about the same percentage of total employment.
any developed and some developing countries have been offering special preferential market access schemes to least developed countries (LDCs). However, though these schemes have lowered tariff barriers for most of the agricultural products exported by LDCs, non-tariff barriers (NTBs) remain a major constraint to LDCs exports. For example, it has been calculated that Bangladesh and Cambodia, even though they have duty-free access to the EU market, faced NTBs equivalent to an average tariff of 5.65 per cent and 7.66 per cent, respectively in 2001 (Brenton, 2003).
Ever since the Uruguay Round negotiating mandate sought “greater liberalization of trade in agriculture”, WTO Members have been locked in an intense debate on the nature and extent of trade liberalization in agriculture. Various perspectives on the agricultural trade liberalization have come to the fore in this debate.
The changes in economic polices in 1980s and early 1990s in South Asian Economies (SAEs), which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, were not successful in completely reforming protectionist policies. Relatively higher tariff rates on agricultural commodities remained one of the features of trade regimes. However, the institutional developments related to trade policy have paved the way to some liberalization of agricultural trade.
Developing countries look forward to foreign direct investment (FDI) as a stable source of non-debt creating capital. FDI also offers these economies access to advanced technology and global marketing networks. Similarly, foreign firms investing in developing country markets look for some conditions to be met in host countries, which allow them to produce more efficiently through better exploitation of their typical intangible assets, like superior patented technology, management and marketing skills (Lall and Streeten, 1977; Soci, 2002).
The breakdown of the Doha negotiations, due in large part to difficulties in reducing agriculture trade barriers in developed economies, while not a surprise to many observers, delivered a blow to the multilateral trading system. The setback prompted countries’ dilemma on how much negotiating capital to continue investing in the multilateral negotiations at the World Trade Organization (WTO), even though most of them still submit that open multilateral trade remains the best way to achieve the greatest benefits from trade.
Like others, the South Asian developing economies are opening up with a view to accelerating their economic growth through greater trade and investment. In this context, a major initiative is the signing of the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) among the seven Member States of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), namely, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
Implementation of Trade Facilitation Measures: Needs, Costs and Other Issues for the WTO Negotiations
However one defines trade facilitation, its ultimate meaning is the ease (in terms of procedures and steps) by which goods move across international borders, whether these are for final destination or in transit to their final consumption in other trading economies. In light of the general and cumulative reduction in statutory tariff rates through several rounds of multilateral trade negotiations, the changing character of international trade, and advances in technology, the need to pay attention to trade facilitation has acquired new importance.