Reduce barriers to trade, investment

Barriers to trade and investment must be reduced if inclusive growth among APEC economies is truly desired.

Chair of the APEC Business Advisory Council (ABAC), David Toua, said this recently in Tokyo, Japan, during the ABAC 2 Meeting.

Toua said the region was currently at the crossroads and urged ABAC members not to regress growth.

“One road takes us towards open markets, dynamic flows of goods, services, investment and people, and inclusive growth. The other takes us backwards towards protectionism, exclusion and regional economic slows

“We should not hold back progress in the Asia-Pacific,” said Toua.

Detailed recommendations to promote regional growth have been prepared by ABAC for the upcoming APEC Ministers Responsible for Trade meeting next month.

Toua said APEC’s strength comes from the two pillars of deep economic integration within the region and outward-looking engagement beyond the region; and to achieve inclusive growth they must continue to reduce barriers to trade and investment and not introduce new restrictions.

“While the integrity of the global rule-based WTO trading system, including its dispute settlement mechanism and economies concessions and obligations, must be fully respected, we are very concerned at the escalation of protectionist rhetoric and action in our region.

“Smaller and more vulnerable economies which play important roles in global value and supply chains must not become collateral damage,” said Toua.

“We have given a strong message to Trade Ministers about our support for the WTO system and the value we place on pressing ahead towards a ‘Free Trade Area of the Asia Pacific’ (FTAAP) as a central part of our vision for the region post 2020, particularly with the welcome finalisation last month of one of the pathways to FTAAP, the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership.

“We call on the parties to ratify and implement the agreement as soon as possible.”

(David Toua – Loop filepic)

Cedric Patjole