According to the Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011: Post-crisis Trade and Investment Opportunities published by the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), trade in the region has returned to pre-crisis levels, while foreign direct investment flows to selected parts of the region, in particular East Asia have also fully recovered.
ESCAP estimates show that the export recovery in Asia-Pacific developing economies in 2010, estimated at 17.3 percent, will stabilize to 9 percent in 2011. This year, India is projected to record the highest export growth of 11.3 percent, followed by South Korea at 11 percent, China at 10.8 percent and Thailand at 10 percent.
However, it will be challenging for Asian economies to maintain current levels of export growth unless they develop new markets within the region. At the same time, while the region is at the forefront of attracting foreign direct investment, 75 percent of these go to just five economies: China, Hong Kong, India, Russia and Singapore.
Developed economies are still the major destination for the region's exports, but with the European Union, Japan and the United States facing an economic slowdown, Asia-Pacific countries must rely more on intraregional trade which can also make the region more resilient to external shocks. The report also highlights that further consolidation of regional trade agreements can trigger more trade among Asia-Pacific countries.