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  • ITC BY REGION - ASIA

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  • ASIA

    The countries of Asia have diverse challenges in trade. The region boasts countries with high levels of human development as well as least developed countries (LDCs). The countries show extreme diversity in terms of human development, population, size, political systems, culture, religion, and ecology. For this reason, ITC seeks to support these countries primarily through tailor-made national projects.

    Many countries were making remarkable progress in achieving Millennium Development Goals (MDG) targets before the global financial crisis. This momentum has been undermined: first, by throwing new vulnerable sections of society into extreme poverty; and, second, by exacerbating the divide between emerging and low-income countries. The most recent MDG report for Asia and the Pacific concludes that strengthening regional cooperation, specifically trade in food, would facilitate progress. The region would also benefit from measures that address climate change, particularly for the densely populated Asian coastal areas such as Indonesia, the Philippines and Singapore, which are acutely vulnerable.

    Within the region, ITC works with a large number of countries in a vast array of technical areas. For example, projects include supporting both the Maldives in developing trade information systems and Bangladesh in areas such as the leather sector, business to business linkages and accessing the European market. ITC is also collaborating with Nepal in taking forward the country’s development agenda within the process of the Enhanced Integrated Framework for Least Developed Countries (LDCs). ITC will soon be working with Pakistan, providing technical assistance on export promotion aspects of trade policy issues, as well as supporting China in developing a certified trade advisor programme.

    ITC has joined forces with four other UN agencies to support “green production” and income generation for Vietnamese producers of handicrafts and light furniture. We also provide support to the Cambodian silk sector and to the traditional and complementary medicine industry in Malaysia. Further assistance is planned for Lao PDR’s WTO accession, as well as for improving access to trade finance to small exporters in Cambodia.

    Among the top recipients from the region are Indonesia and Vietnam. A notable trend in the delivery of Aid for Trade is the growing importance of multilateral initiatives, multi-country programmes, and an increased focus on LDCs.

    ITC works with regional partners to achieve the most pressing policy objectives including rebalancing national and regional strategies beyond exports to Western markets and directing efforts at reducing the gap between low-income Asian countries and high performers. Given the region’s diversity, priorities will naturally differ.