Underscoring the need for boosting industrial capacity, global competitiveness and transport infrastructure in order to address the existing international condition of trade, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) claimed that export diversification could help Asia and the Pacific to better cope with the current global slowdown in trade and make development more inclusive.
The ADB on Wednesday released a report ‘Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific: Promoting Economic Diversification and Empowerment’ during the 7th Aid for Trade Global Review 2019 held at the World Trade Organization headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. The report is part of the Aid for Trade Initiative, which aims to help developing economies build trade-related infrastructure and supply-side capacity.
The Aid for Trade Global Review is held every two years to strengthen the monitoring and evaluation of aid for trade whereas current year’s focus is on how trade can further contribute to economic diversification and empowerment.
“Challenges to trade include the risk of sluggish global economic growth, the adoption of more inward-looking trade policies in some parts of the world, and widening social and income inequalities,” ADB Vice-President for Knowledge Management and Sustainable Development Mr. Bambang Susantono said.
He expressed on the occasion, “There is now greater need for economic and export diversification, and well-targeted aid for trade to catalyze financing that enables sharing the benefits of open trade more equitably.”
According to the report the expansion of services throughout Asia and the Pacific, particularly in information and communications technology, is an opportunity for economic and export diversification. The report said that integrated and coherent policies, with increased trade liberalization and regulatory reform, are critical for services trade to develop.
Meanwhile, aid for trade targeted at digital connectivity boosts economic opportunities by linking businesses to markets that otherwise would be well beyond their reach. It also opens up export avenues for business services, telecommunications, and information services in addition to supporting e-commerce in the manufacturing sector.
Digital technologies and the rise in services have helped to boost entrepreneurship among women in recent years, lifting economic growth. However, more efforts are needed to bring down the barriers that make it difficult for women and other vulnerable groups to reach international markets and integrate into global supply chains. Aid for trade can support that by tailoring trade policies and regulations to promote women’s businesses and supporting small firms, including those owned by women.
ADB is committed to achieving a prosperous, inclusive, resilient, and sustainable Asia and the Pacific, while sustaining its efforts to eradicate extreme poverty. In 2018, it made commitments of new loans and grants amounting to $21.6 billion. Established in 1966, it is owned by 68 members—49 from the region.
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