UNCTAD S-G highlights Asia-Pacific dynamism and UNCTAD's work with the region's LDCs

Speaking at the opening ceremony of the twenty-sixth conference of the Confederation of Asia-Pacific Chambers of Commerce and Industry (CACCI), in Kathmandu, Nepal, which was inaugurated this last Wednesday by the President of Nepal, Mr. Ram Baram Yadav, UNCTAD Secretary-General Supachai Panitchpakdi outlined specific examples of UNCTAD assistance to least developed countries in the region and urged business leaders to uplift the economic status of underdeveloped countries like Nepal.


26th CACCIIn his prepared statement, Dr. Supachai highlighted the relatively high GDP growth rates in the Asia-Pacific region, which have lifted large numbers of people out of extreme poverty. The region as a whole has not only attained but also exceeded the poverty reduction target set by Millennium Development Goal 1, many years before the deadline.

The Secretary-General indicated that the Asia Pacific region in being considered as a hub for economic prosperity and as such should focus on development-oriented, inclusive and sustainable economic growth. He stated that regional free trade agreements have facilitated the expansion of trade in the region. He acknowledged the vital role played by enterprises in the region, through their hard work, efficient production processes, continuous innovation, and competitiveness. At the same time, he considered that the Asia-Pacific region demonstrates that a developmental State is indispensable in order to gain benefits from international trade - a point that UNCTAD has been advocating consistently.

Dr. Supachai outlined some of the activities being carried out in the region by UNCTAD, with its mandate to promote the development-friendly integration of developing countries and the least developed countries (LDCs) into the world economy.

UNCTAD is helping Nepal and the Lao People's Democratic Republic to develop an investment guide, with the aim of increasing investment, including foreign direct investment, by making investors better aware of the opportunities existing in these countries. It has collaborated with the Commonwealth Secretariat in producing a study on "Identification of potential supply chains in the textiles and clothing sector in South Asia", which assesses the scope for promoting regional trade and cooperation in the sector, including for Bangladesh.

UNCTAD also conducts national services policy reviews that examine policy and regulatory frameworks, as well as the potential impact of trade liberalization, in order to promote participation by LDCs in global services trade. In 2010, UNCTAD reviewed Nepal, focusing on IT services and tourism as two future growth areas. UNCTAD provides technical assistance on WTO accession and post-accession to LDCs, and is currently working with Afghanistan, Bhutan, Cambodia, Nepal and the Lao People's Democratic Republic.

CACCI runs from 3 to 5 October 2012, and features sessions on investment opportunities in Nepal, Asia in the global economy, inclusive economic growth to empower women and young people, mitigating the effects of climate change, and regional trade, investments and knowledge resources.


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