ADB says re­gional ties can help Asia tackle ris­ing cross-bor­der chal­lenges

The Myanmar Times - Weekend - - Asean Focus -

RE­GIONAL co­op­er­a­tion is in­creas­ingly nec­es­sary to tackle a ris­ing num­ber of cross-bor­der chal­lenges in Asia and the Pa­cific, in­clud­ing in­fra­struc­ture gaps, trade con­nec­tiv­ity, fi­nan­cial con­ta­gion, and cli­mate and dis­as­ter-re­silience, ac­cord­ing to a new re­port from the Asian De­vel­op­ment Bank (ADB) re­leased on Tues­day.

The Asian Eco­nomic In­te­gra­tion Re­port 2018 says col­lec­tive ac­tion to build re­gional pub­lic goods brings greater ben­e­fits than if coun­tries work alone to ad­dress is­sues that also af­fect their neigh­bours.

Re­gional pub­lic goods are goods, ser­vices, and sys­tems of poli­cies or rules that have shared ben­e­fits across coun­tries, such as cross-bor­der in­fra­struc­ture, com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­ease con­trol, and dis­as­ter risk man­age­ment.

“En­hanced re­gional co­op­er­a­tion and co­or­di­na­tion can help coun­tries man­age re­gional is­sues, par­tic­u­larly if they com­ple­ment na­tional and global ac­tions,” ADB Chief Econ­o­mist Ya­suyuki Sawada said.

He added that “mul­ti­lat­eral de­vel­op­ment banks can help in­crease re­gional pub­lic goods by re­duc­ing knowl­edge and fi­nanc­ing gaps, as well as pro­mot­ing reg­u­lar pol­icy di­a­logue for long- term co­op­er­a­tion among coun­tries.”

The re­port points to sev­eral ef­forts in Asia to es­tab­lish and strengthen re­gional pub­lic goods.

For ex­am­ple, it says the 2014 pledge by 18 Asian lead­ers to elim­i­nate malaria by 2030 has spurred coun­tries to work to­gether to achieve the goal to ben­e­fit the re­gion.

The re­port fur­ther notes the ADB’S Greater Mekong Sub­re­gion Health Se­cu­rity Project to help con­trol com­mu­ni­ca­ble dis­eases in the Mekong re­gion bor­der ar­eas is part of such ef­forts.

Trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion pro­grammes be­tween coun­tries in the Cen­tral Asia Re­gional Eco­nomic Co­op­er­a­tion re­gion have boosted in­trare­gional trade, sup­port­ing eco­nomic growth, adds the re­port.

The re­port says Asia’s in­trare­gional trade – mea­sured by value – rose to 57.8 per­cent of its to­tal global trade in 2017 from 57.2pc in 2016.

“The re­cov­ery in re­gional trade can be at­trib­uted to the ex­pan­sion of global value chains af­ter a slow­down since 2012. In­trare­gional for­eign di­rect in­vest­ment also in­creased slightly to US$260 bil­lion (K411 tril­lion) in 2017 from US$254.7 bil­lion in 2016,” adds the re­port.

Grow­ing trade and in­vest­ment link­ages in Asia and the Pa­cific can be a buf­fer for the re­gion against un­cer­tain­ties in the global econ­omy, the re­port says.

How­ever, it warns that un­cer­tainty about trade pol­icy could dampen the re­cov­ery in re­gional and global trade and dam­age con­sumer sen­ti­ment and busi­ness con­fi­dence in cap­i­tal spend­ing and in­vest­ment. – Xin­hua

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