Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013 launched


The Philippine launch of the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2013 (APTIR) was held on 7 January 2014, 4 pm, at the UP School of Economics, University of the Philippines, Diliman, Quezon City.  The Center for the Advancement of Trade Integration and Facilitation (CATIF) and Philippine Center for Economic Development (PCED) co-organized the launch with the support of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP).

This launch introduced the results of the APTIR 2013. Dr. Mia Mikic, Chief of Trade Policy and Analysis Section, Trade and Investment Division, UN-ESCAP, presented the APTIR results for the region via videoconferencing, and Dr. Florian Alburo, President of CATIF, discussed the implications of the report on the Philippine trade and investment. In addition, perspectives from the following representatives of the Philippine government, private businesses, and the academe on trade and investment in the country were heard: Undersecretary Adrian S. Cristobal, Jr., Department of Trade and Industry; Mr. Francis Lopez, President, InterCommerce Network Services, Inc.; Mr. Fernando V. Navarra, Jr., President and CEO of Southern Star Agencia Maritima, Inc.; and Prof. Ramon L. Clarete, Executive Director, PCED.

APTIR is an annual publication of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) that analyzes national policies as well as regional and global developments affecting trade and investment among economies in the region. This year’s edition, subtitled “Turning the Tide: Towards Inclusive Trade and Investment”, notes that while economies in the region have generally sustained their economic growth and reduced absolute poverty levels mainly through increasing international openness, income inequalities at the national and regional levels have been increasing.  Such a perverse impact of export-led growth underscores the need for complementary policies that will spread the benefits of growth and bring into fold economic groups that are hitherto left at the margins.  The report exhorts policymakers in the region to consider more innovative development strategies that will pursue inclusive growth alongside the promotion of trade and investments.

The report notes that the Philippines is among the countries that have experienced robust economic growth in recent years owing to increasing trade and investment openness.  For instance the country continued to attract investments despite the slowdown in the global economy. However, it has met limited success in reducing its international trade costs that would facilitate the integration of domestic firms into the regional and global production networks.  This is evidenced by the Philippine ranking in the UNESCAP’s International Supply Chain Connectivity (ISCC) Index, 59th out of 179 countries, which puts it squarely behind its neighbors such as Malaysia (5th), Thailand (33rd ), Vietnam (37th) and Indonesia (46th). The country could focus in particular on improving its international maritime infrastructure and services.