Trade slows in Asia-Pacific

Trade slows in Asia-PacificTrade slows in Asia-Pacific

Trade and investment growth has slowed in the Asia-Pacific region heavily dependent on foreign demand for its exports to European countries and the United States, a United Nations report said on Wednesday. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) said Asia-Pacific trade turnover grew by only2% in 2013 and was weak in the first half of 2014, Itar-Tass reported. According to ESCAP executive secretary Shamshad Akhtar, regional economies need to develop domestic demand and integrate with each other to get rid of dependence on export demand in Europe and the United States.

Among the report’s findings, Northeast Asia alone was responsible for about 60% of both total regional merchandise exports and imports in 2013. Similarly, 65% of all services exports from the Asia-Pacific region were attributable to just six economies: China, India, Japan, South Korea, Singapore and Hong Kong, it said.

“This suggests that large gaps remain between countries in terms of their trade competitiveness and level of diversification, and that great potential remains still untapped, especially in the services sectors of many countries,” the report said.

ESCAP said the study also revealed that Asia-Pacific attracted $549 billion of foreign direct investment in 2013, a rise of 6.6% and accounting for almost 38% of global inflows. But this was still lower than the global increase and lagged behind fast-growing regions such as Latin America.