Why is it in the news ?

The Asia Pacifc Trade and Investment Report of 2019 was released.

Who publishes the report ?

  1. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific(ESCAP) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development(UNCTAD) has released the report.

What is the report aimed at ?

  1. The report reveals information on developments in
    1. Intra- and inter-regional trade in goods and services
    2. Foreign direct investment
    3. Trade facilitation measures
    4. Trade policy measures and
    5. Preferential trade policies and agreements.

Key findings of the report

  • Non-tariff measures (NTMs) have increased in the past two decades and are affecting trade as well sustainable development goals (SDGs) in Asian countries.
  • NTMs affect 58 per cent of the trade in Asia-Pacific.
  • Around half the Asia-Pacific’s economies have at least one NTM addressing water and energy efficiency and only 10 per cent have measures addressing illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and illegal timber trade.
  • Domestic procedural obstacles, rather than required standards embedded in NTMs are the primary reason behind the negative impacts of NTM on trade.
  • Major trade costs stem from the adoption of SPS and TBT of international standards.


  1. The key is to ensure they are designed and implemented effectively so that costs are minimised.
  2. To address trade costs while maintaining the benefits of NTMs, countries need to further enhance cooperation at all levels.
  3. Regional initiatives should be actively pursued, such as NTM harmonisation and mutual recognition initiatives in regional trade agreements.
  4. Review current NTMs and ensure that new NTMs are systematically followed and monitored.


  1. It is an intergovernmental body of permanent nature.
  2. It was established by the UNGA in 1964.
  3. It is headquartered in Geneva, Switzerland and part of the UN Secretariat.
  4. It is the prominent body dealing with trade,finance, investment etc.
  5. Its flagship reports include Commodities and Development Report, Trade and Development Report, Travel and Tourism Competitiveness Report.


  1. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) is the regional development arm of the United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region.
  2. It has 53 Member States and 9 Associate Members from Asia-Pacific Region including India.
  3. It serves as the UN ‘s regional hub promoting cooperation among countries to achieve inclusive and sustainable development.