Liberalizing Services and Promoting Digital Services: Prospects for Enhancing Trade in CAREC Countries
Economic diversification is a priority of member countries of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) Program. Such will increase productivity, integrate better into global value chains, and strengthen economic resilience during crises. The webinar discussed the findings of the ADB report on Developing the Services Sector for Economic Diversification in CAREC Countries, which analyzes CAREC members’ economic structure and potential for diversification through services development. The webinar focused on liberalization, digital services trade, and regional cooperation to facilitate the growth of services in the CAREC region and beyond. The webinar featured two related publications: Advancing Digital Services in Asia and the Pacific, the theme chapter of the Asian Economic Integration Report 2022, and the OECD Services Trade Restrictiveness Index 2022: Policy Trends Up to 2022.
The webinar examined key outcomes of the 2021 APFIF report: Emerging Priorities in the COVID-19 Era. This included discussion on financial inclusion priorities for policy makers and regulators to stimulate economic recovery as well as emerging challenges and opportunities associated with financial inclusion as a result of digital transformation.
Digital platforms have become prominent intermediaries or marketplaces that allow the exchange of goods and services or information among participants, on the back of broadening digitalization. They have opened new transaction channels and ways to utilize resources while lowering the service cost and enhancing market efficiency. Yet they also entail risks. This 27th edition of RCI-POD webinar discussed the key messages, findings, and policy considerations from the edited book volume on Managing the Development of Digital Marketplaces in Asia. A panel of experts discussed topics on measuring the digital platform economy, the digital divide, and promoting competition in the digital platform economy in Asia.
RCEP is expected to address the multitudes of rules of origin that have proliferated in the Asian and Pacific region. At the same time, compared to the Comprehensive and Progressive Agreement for Trans-Pacific Partnership and other regional agreements, RCEP does not provide for strong disciplines in new areas and has been qualified as a “shallow” agreement. This webinar shed light on the foundations of these apparently contradictory statements to conciliate expectations through an analysis of RCEP commitments and built-in agenda. It discussed the commitments undertaken in RCEP in the regulatory and behind-the-border measures, and examined the classic elements of a free trade agreement (tariff concessions and rules of origin).
Financial inclusion enables households and enterprises access to useful and affordable financial products and services that meet their needs for transactions, payments, savings, credit, and insurance. It has been identified as an enabler of Sustainable Development Goals and recognized as one of the pillars of global development agenda. Yet financial inclusion is commonly viewed from multidimensional approach, with different dimensions contributing to overall financial inclusion. Moreover, financial inclusion may have varying relevance and impact across a diverse set of economies. This RCI-POD webinar discussed a new measure of financial inclusion and assessed whether different dimensions of financial inclusion show distinct impacts in achieving key development goals of reducing poverty and income inequality as well as strengthening women empowerment and entrepreneurship.
The webinar discussed the report of the Committee on the Global Financial System (CGFS) on the changing composition and dynamics of capital flows, as well as the macroeconomic and financial stability implications of these changes, including for Asia.