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Siddique Islam - All Headline News Foreign Correspondent
Dhaka, Bangladesh (AHN)- Countries in the Asia-Pacific region have not benefited equally fromgrowing free trade, with economic juggernaut China overpowering the region's smaller andpoorest nations, according to a report of the United Nations Development Program (UNDP)."China's stunning economic growth, in so many ways an inspiration to its Asia-Pacific neighbors,is not delivering reciprocal benefits to its regional trading partners -- and is in some casescreating difficulties for them," said the 2006 Asia-Pacific Human Development Report released onThursday.Hit especially hard have been the region's 14 poorest economies -- Afghanistan, Bangladesh,Bhutan, Cambodia, East Timor, Kiribati, Laos, the Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Samoa, SolomonIslands, Tuvalu and Vanuatu."The poorest countries of the region have limited scope for benefiting from the booming Chinesemarket, and the possibility exists that Chinese imports are displacing some domestic industries,"it added.In particular, while imports from China to Asia-Pacific's poorest countries are large and accountfor more than 20 percent of all their imports, China's imports from them are extremely limited, atonly about US$300 million, the report noted.While China's overall trade with Asia-Pacific countries has grown rapidly and now accounts formost of its global trade, more than 75 percent of its trade in the region is with high-income nationssuch as Japan, the Republic of Korea or Singapore, it said.The report also said that regional trade co-operation in the sub-region has been slow to develop.The trade liberalization program of the new South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) offers alimited reduction in import duties for infrastructural trade, which does not offer significantly morethan the World Trade Organization, it added.
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