ADB-ESCAP-WTO Conference: Promoting Connectivity for an inclusive Asia and the Pacific
International trade is a key driving force behind economic growth that since 1990 has listed more than a billion people out of poverty in Asia and Pacific. However, in the years since the global financial crisis, trade growth has fallen behind GDP growth, after outpacing it for many decades. Despite early signs of a recovery in the growth of world trade, the global economic environment is still uncertain, and much remains to be done to realize potential trade outcomes for inclusive growth.
Towards this end, emerging digital technologies, such as e-commerce, offer a new set of modern trade facilitating solutions and opportunities to achieve inclusive trade-driven growth. However, realizing the full potential of cross-border e-commerce calls for coordinated regional and global efforts. Moreover, official development assistance targeted at tradable sectors, or aid for trade, and other regional trade facilitation initiatives are important modalities for multilateral development banks and other donors to help maximize the benefits of trade liberalization.
Discussions during several sessions of the conference will be based on three recent reports produced by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and its key development partners including United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and World Trade Organization (WTO): (i) ADB-ESCAP study on E-commerce Development in Asia and the Pacific 2018; (ii) ADB-ESCAP report entitled ‘Trade Facilitation and better connectivity for an inclusive Asia and the Pacific’ published in 2017; and (iii) ADB-WTO’s biennial 2017 Aid for Trade in Asia and the Pacific report entitled ‘Promoting Connectivity for Inclusive Development’. In addition, ESCAP and WTO will also lead sessions to discuss topical issues relating to digital trade facilitation and WTO accessions respectively.