Bangkok: International trade and investment, and resilient supply chains are indispensable for recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic, high-level delegates stressed this week at the Seventh Session of the Committee on Trade and Investment convened by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP).
With the pandemic coming on top of trade tensions among leading trading economies and many countries already retreating to protectionism and nationalism, the world has witnessed the worst economic performance since the Great Depression of the 1930s. ESCAP estimates that Asia and the Pacific lost $2.2 trillion in trade in 2020 based on pre-pandemic growth forecasts, with trade in services hit the hardest. Decline in foreign investment is similarly staggering.
“We need to build on and expand existing cooperation frameworks such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, the Framework Agreement on Facilitating Paperless Trade and the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana opening the proceedings.