Trade integration deepens in Asia-Pacific region amid pandemic: ADB

Trade among economies in the Asia-Pacific rose to the highest level in three decades, bolstering the region’s economic resilience amid the Covid-19 pandemic even as mobility restrictions and supply-chain disruptions hampered global trade, according to the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

The ADB’s Asian Economic Integration Report 2022 said the strong intraregional trade, along with the release of pent-up global demand and the early economic recovery in China, underpinned the region’s economic resilience, reports Xinhua news agency.

Asia and the Pacific’s trade grew by 29.6 per cent in the first three quarters of 2021 and trade within the region rebounded by 31.2 per cent during the same period, following a 3.1 per cent contraction in 2020, the report said.

Also, measures to further promote trade and investment across borders, such as the newly-launched Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) free trade agreement, can help advance regional trade and economic integration and pave the way for a sustainable recovery from the pandemic, said the report.

ADB Chief Economist Albert Park said the strengthening trade and value chain linkages among economies in the Asia-Pacific are an encouraging sign for a resilient recovery from Covid-19.

“The pandemic has caused visible economic damage and reversed many of the region’s hard-won gains in reducing poverty,” he said, stressing the need to build on the achievements of regional integration and cooperation to support a return to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.

The report added that integration among economies in the Asia-Pacific has continued to deepen in areas including new technology and digital connectivity, environmental cooperation, trade linkages, investment, and value chain participation.

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