At the forefront of growth and development in Asia and the Pacific

Sustainable Development Goals and Trade

In September 2015, United Nations members agreed on the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), which will guide development efforts until 2030. Trade is recognized as an important means to achieve these goals. This project aims for a triple win: good trade policy that spurs international trade, contributes to development-friendly outcomes, and supports the achievement of the SDGs.


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23 March 2017 Why is Income Distributed Unequally? A Comparison of Japan and the United States - Asia Pathways

Japan and the United States (US) are at similar levels of economic development, yet their income distributions are considerably different. Whereas Japan has a relatively equal income distribution, the US is marked by a high level of income inequality. This blog looks at the sources of income inequality in both countries?

18 February 2017 How trade can promote SDG goal 3: Duty-free market access for health products - Asia Pathways

Trade in health products has increased substantially over the past 2 decades, and tariffs on health products have been lowered, making, for example, medicines more affordable for many. Indeed, Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 3 calls upon countries to ensure healthy lives and to promote well-being for all ages. Yet in several developing countries, substantial tariffs still persist, inflating the prices of health products. The most direct and immediate contribution of the trade community toward achieving SDG 3 couldbe to open up trade unilaterally or to negotiate a plurilateral trade agreement, which would guarantee free market access for health products, like much-needed medicines.

2 February 2017 Why poor countries should invest first in national trade infrastructure - Asia Pathways

Low-income countries are often advised to prioritize investment in their trade infrastructure to better connect to international markets, and garner the benefits of a more open trade regime. The World Bank’s Trade Facilitation Support Program and the World Trade Organization (WTO)’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, for example, promote investment in trade infrastructure to boost development prospects by improving competitiveness and lowering trade costs.

23 January 2017 The impact of trade on employment in the Sustainable Development Goals - Asia Pathways

Employment was an afterthought in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). It was not part of the original goals but was added in 2008, halfway through the implementation period. It is, however, a key element of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Goal 8 encourages countries to “promote sustained, inclusive and sustainable economic growth, full and productive employment and decent work for all.” There are eight employment-related targets and ten specific indicators (United Nations 2015).

11 January 2017 Trading for sustainable fisheries - Asia Pathways

What fish trade policy options and recommendations can be put in place to help achieve the relevant Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations? We need to understand the (i) relationship between fish trade and sustainable fisheries; (ii) potential promise of and the perils in the fish trade; and (iii) main trade-related concerns in the sustainability of fisheries. Sumaila (2017) addresses these issues in detail.

26 December 2016 Inclusive development: can trade be good for women? - Asia Pathways

The United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) highlight the need to achieve gender equality and to empower women and girls. Development that is truly inclusive clearly requires special attention to outcomes affecting more than half of the world’s population—yet historically, a group that has seen discrimination in law and fact over a long period.

12 December 2016 Still time to reconnect trade policy and SDGs - Asia Pathways

In 2002, “trade for development” was a core topic of the Millennium Development Goals. Fifteen years later, trade is at the periphery of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Three main reasons explain this rapid decline. First, trade negotiators did their best to obscure the Doha Round and bilateral trade negotiations in byzantine and sterile debates. Second, business stopped to pay attention to trade policy because firms turned to a form of liberalization tailor-made for their own global value chains: they traded tariff cuts of interest to them in exchange of investments in the opening countries.

5 December 2016 The water challenge: international trade to the rescue - Asia Pathways

In many parts of the world, water availability is in decline and its quality is deteriorating. According to the World Bank, water scarcity, intensified by climate change, could come at a high price for some regions, costing as much as 6 percent of their gross domestic product.

2 November 2016 Exploring the trade–urbanization nexus in developing economies: evidence and implications - Asia Pathways

Modern humans have been increasingly concentrated in cities. The United Nations forecasts that 60% of the world’s population will live in urban areas by 2030. Regional multilateral institutions such as the Development Bank of Latin America and the Asian Development Bank have stepped up their efforts to support the urban sector and to collaborate on comparative studies of urbanization.

19 July 2016 Digitizing trade – how changing the process is changing development - Asia Pathways

Over 31 million consumers in Viet Nam researched or purchased a product online in 2015. Just ten years ago, internet connectivity was only starting to become common. Digitization is changing how people trade. There are even more dramatic changes happening under the hood. The way trade is financed, processed and regulated has entered a period of disruption. We take this opportunity to consider the short and long term implications of digitization of the trade process. They’re not what you’d expect.

24 December 2015 Realizing the Paris Agreement: How can Asia manage the transition to a low-carbon economy? - Asia Pathways

As the world celebrates the Paris agreement, after 20 years of fraught meetings, its significance for the future development pathways of the emerging economies of Asia cannot be underestimated.

4 September 2015 Untold side of Asia’s poverty story and SDGs - Asia Pathways

On 25–27 September, less than 3 weeks from now, heads of state of 192 nations will sign up for the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) which will succeed the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) as the new global development agenda.

20 January 2015 Green investment in Asian cities: Lessons from the People’s Republic of China, Indonesia, and Japan - Asia Pathways

The concept of “green growth” has been connected to the “green economy for sustainable development and poverty reduction,” which is the first theme of the Rio+20 United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD).

20 February 2013 Japan must join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement talks - Asia Pathways

Time is running out for Japan to join the Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP), as the negotiating countries aim to conclude the talks before the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meeting in October this year. Although former Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda had expressed strong interest during his tenure in joining the TPP negotiations, his successor, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, has not expressed similar sentiments as the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) took a cautious stance on the TPP during Japan’s December 2012 general election.