Trade costs and facilitation in APEC and ASEAN: Delivering the goods?
This paper uses a new methodology to provide some first evidence on the overall level of trade costs in APEC and ASEAN. On average, APEC member economies have met the Shanghai target of a 5% reduction in trade costs over five years, but only just. Performance of individual member economies varies substantially, and in some cases is far below the Shanghai target. ASEAN member countries have also experienced some declines in trade costs, but generally to a lesser extent than in APEC. In both groups, tariff reductions have played an important role in reducing overall trade costs. Progress on non-tariff trade costs has been much more limited. Moving forward, APEC and ASEAN should refocus their trade facilitation efforts on non-tariff trade costs. They also need to develop clearer metrics against which progress can be assessed, and move towards a focus on outputs (lower trade costs), rather than inputs (administrative and policy changes).
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