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Decline In Global Trade May Hamper Implementation Of SDGs: ESCAP


Increase in global trade with the implementation of trade-led development strategies were considered to be one of the key contributors for reducing poverty prior to adoption of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).

According to an annual report “Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report (APTIR)” released by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) the regional development arm of United Nations for the Asia-Pacific region highlight key challenges in 2016.  The Asia-Pacific region is expected to witness a 5.2% and 4.9% decline in nominal export and import values, respectively this year which will in turn impact implementation of SDGs.

The trade volume growth is expected to increase a mere 0.7% and 0.1% respectively in imports and exports this year, from the highs of 7% in the early 2000.  “Trade is the key driver of economic activity in Asia and the Pacific,” stated Dr. Shamshad Akhtar, Under-Secretary-General of the United Nations and Executive Secretary of ESCAP. Reasons behind the faltering trade range from sluggish global economic growth, a downward movement of commodity prices, adverse movement of exchange rates, capital flow volatility, maturation of global value chains and a decline in productivity growth.

Trade policies reflect the general trends in terms of increased sentiment towards globalization. Findings of the report highlighted a significant increase in restrictiveness of trade policies within the region. In fact, the Asia-Pacific region saw more restrictive then liberalizing trade policy overall, while globally it was the opposite. Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund, stated that “such policies restricted trade and were a form of “economic malpractice” that would not only choke growth but will impact jobs and reduce wages.”

The 2030 Sustainable development goals which focuses on ending poverty in all its forms, food security, healthy-life and well being of all life-forms, gender equality, etc. cannot be achieved by any country in isolation. There is a need for integrated approach by each country and work towards sustainable development. Globalization has helped improve connectivity, wherein there is not just exchange of goods and services but also technology and ideas which help reaching towards sustainable goals.

Developing countries which are yet to explore their core potential lag behind other countries when it is related to sustainable development. Adaptation of environment friendly technology, lack of funding, lack of access to latest technology, skilled labour, etc are few of the shortcomings that developing countries face when it comes to adapting sustainable growth.

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The CSR Journal Team