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Fighting for trade openness, a UN ESCAP-AfDB report on Wednesday called on Asian countries to refrain from imposing trade restrictions, including non-tariff barriers, saying the impact of protectionist measures did not has never been positive for the global economy.
The report by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the Asian Development Bank (AfDB) also called for the promotion of digital and paperless trade procedures by Asian countries. due to supply chain disruptions caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
“Countries should refrain from using export restrictions and other non-tariff measures. They should also increase transparency on trade restrictions imposed during and after COVID-19. The impact of protectionist measures on the world economy and international trade has never been positive. “, says the biennial report.
The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Report 2021 also highlights that the digitization of cross-border trade has great potential to help countries in Asia and the Pacific access essential goods, especially those most vulnerable to uncertainty and to the trade crisis. If countries accelerate the implementation of their digital trade programs, average trade costs could fall by more than 13%, he said.
The CESAP-ADB study highlights the need to strengthen the resilience of supply chains as the COVID-19 pandemic has exposed vulnerabilities of concentrated trade networks, limited stocks and funding shortages. The strong participation in global value chains has made Asia and the Pacific particularly vulnerable to restrictive trade policies, he noted.
According to the report, digital trade transformation can support sustainable and development-oriented benefits by lowering barriers. Regional average implementation rates for digital and sustainable groups are 58% and 55% respectively.
He said that countries achieving better implementation of the digital trade facilitation group generally performed well in the sustainable trade facilitation group as well. Overall, the most advanced countries performed better in the digital and sustainable dimensions than the less developed countries.
“The PRC (People’s Republic of China), India and the Republic of Korea are among the best performers in sustainable trade facilitation, while Australia and New Zealand are the best performers in terms of sustainable trade facilitation. digital trade facilitation. Singapore got over 90% for both groups, he added.
The report says epidemics of the past have disrupted supply chains and all major epidemics – Ebola, SARS, Spanish flu and have killed people. Yet the COVID-19 pandemic had sudden and far-reaching impacts globally, while the economic impact of previous outbreaks was localized or spread more slowly across countries.
Border closures, lockdowns, quarantines and other means of controlling the spread of the virus have weakened demand and disrupted supply chains, leading to an overall decline in global trade, and the adverse effects have been felt on supply chains in Asia and the Pacific.
The report pointed out that in South Asia, India has experienced disruption in auto production due to port congestion and parts shortage.
Likewise, India’s manufacturing capacity for electronic equipment – such as telecommunications products, computer hardware, consumer electronics, medical electronics, industrial electronics, and automotive electronics – has been hampered by the lack of raw materials and components imported from the PRC and other countries.
He further said that various trade measures imposed by major vaccine-producing countries, prioritizing domestic demand, have hampered global vaccine deployment. “The increase in demand for vaccines due to the recurrence of the pandemic in India has delayed COVAX deliveries of AstraZeneca-Oxford vaccines produced by the Serum Institute of India in March and April 2021,” he noted. .
In Asia, the PRC and India have developed their own vaccines, while a few other countries have their own candidates in clinical trials. The biennial report was launched during a webinar on “Supply chain resilience and trade facilitation in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic”, co-hosted by ESCAP, AfDB and the Chamber of International Trade (CCI).
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