Let’s trust each other

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The Asian Development Bank(ADB)has said that Asia’s future success depends, inter alia, on building much greater mutual trust and con?dence among its major economies, which was vital for regional cooperation. The Bank said industrial development and trade were key tools for driving growth and reducting poverty in Asia as intraregional trade accounts for 55 per cent of Asia’s total trade, sharply up from about 43 per cent in the early 1990s. “Intraregional trade in Asia is higher than the 46 per cent figure for the North American Free Trade Area and only slightly below the 62 per cent figure for the 15 European Union countries,” the Bank said, adding that trade between Asia and Latin America/Caribbean grew at over 20 per cent a year in the past decade, reaching an estimated $442 billion in 2011. It said as of January 2012 there were 18 free trade agreements amongst countries in Asia and Latin America/Caribbean. This figure may rise to 30 by 2020. By 2040, some economists estimate that the combined gross domestic products (GDP) of the PRC and India will be 10 times larger than Europe’s entire annual output. Developing Asia’s service sector is to play a growing role as economies that graduated from agriculture to industry evolve further into service economies. “Lack of human capital, inadequate infrastructure and restrictive regulations are major bottlenecks for developing a modern service sector. Small and Medium Enterprises play a key role in employment and income generation in Asia, accounting for an estimated 90 per cent of all businesses and 60 per cent of the workforce,” the Bank further added.