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Some Conclusions Fostering Trade through Private-Public Dialogue Expert Meeting on Regional Integration in Asia New Delhi, 28-29 March 2007. Patterns of trade Role and impact of FTAs & RTAs Trade in goods performance Trade in services performance Role of Foreign Investment
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Fostering Trade through Private-Public Dialogue
Expert Meeting on Regional Integration in Asia
New Delhi, 28-29 March 2007
1. Patterns of trade in Asia- Over 50% of trade by countries in the region is within the region- China’s role as a major exporter and importer, as well as investor looms ever larger- When seen in terms of sub-regions, however, it is clear that within South Asia, intraregional trade is much more limited (6%). India’s major markets are now in East Asia
2. Role and impact of FTAs and RTAs- Various questions were raised: does trade expand more as a result of trade agreements, or is their impact quite marginal in practice? Are they “weak and light”? - Is there such a proliferation of the noodle bowl that trade becomes more complicated and may as well revert to MFN principles? - Do trade agreement pose a threat to, or do they reinforce WTO agreements?-Strong case for “unilateralism”: at least as powerful as “bilateralism and multilateralism”
by WTO rules (which are currently couched in very
- Is the way forward to strengthen an enhanced East Asian
trade market on one hand, an enhanced SAARC on the
other and build bridges between them?
- Or is the best way forward to build the East Asian summit
(EAS) initiative encompassing 50% of the world’s
population and comprising potentially the largest
economic bloc in the world?
- Degree of liberalization is critical. With some
exceptions, East & Southeast Asia is more
liberalized than South Asia. Some slowdown, but China racing ahead .
- Huge contrast between China and India in respect of “ease of trading across borders” (38th and 139th in world ranking). Do more liberal economies lead to greater domestic inequalities?
- In South Asia, India is very dominant. In East Asia, China is very dominant. However political relations in South Asia inhibit more trade cooperation
- Sequencing of service liberalization, bilateral versus multilateral liberalization are other issues which merit attention
- Outward investments - particularly in India and Pakistan - are controlled
“Without further liberalization of investment, South Asia will not benefit from industrial restructuring and more trade”
- Patterns of investment in East and Southeast Asia take a more regional perspective, helping to develop region wide value chains (e.g. car manufacturing)
- In East and Southeast Asia the relationship appears to be more constructive than in South Asia, where the private sector identifies some Government regulations as obstructive to trade
- More trade facilitation (standards, documentation, rules, connectivity, etc.) and more predictability
- Key role for Elder Brother India to play constructive role, both through SAARC and regionally