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Unformatted text preview: ability of resources provide plenty of opportunities for growth. Many economies in the region are transforming, getting more diversified and opening up to trade. This implies a smooth integration into the regional and world economies and demands a range of cross border flows of trade, investment and technology. Further steps are expected in trade facilitation which would ensure goods can move across borders more easily and would yield win‐win outcomes. Share of agriculture in national economy The share of agriculture in the Asia‐Pacific countries is not uniform (see Fig I). The poorer economies in this region have relatively higher share of agriculture in GDP in comparison with the rich economies. Data from FAO (2009) shows that the least developed countries 3 in the region have on average 34% of their GDP coming from agriculture. Whereas, developed nations such as Australia and Japan have minimal share of 2.4% and 1.5% respectively. Many countries in the region have significant socio‐economic implications for agricultural trade, as a high proportion of the population is dependent on the sector. The proportion of population dependent on agriculture sector is relatively high particularly in the Asia‐Pacific 4 compared to the rest of the world, Livelihoods of half to three quarters of the Source: FAO 2009 3 Except Maldives (no data) and Pacific island countries This is based on FAO list of Asia‐Pacific countries, which mostly excludes few Pacific island and Central Asian countries. 4 4 total population in developing countries including a number of LDCs such as Nepal, Lao People’s Democratic Republic and Cambodia depend on agriculture (see Fig II). The two emerging countries, China and India are also part of this list. The chances of enhanced dividend of growth to the larger section of the population depend mostly on the developments in the agricultural sector. Source: FAO 2009 High import growth Comparisons of total agro‐trade value in real terms among Asia‐Pacific, the European Union and the United States of America will only show the large gap among these regions. However, it does not show the acceleration of growth that is taking place in the Asia‐Pacific region. The Asia‐Pacific region has shown some great strides in accelerating its trade growth in the last decade, influenced by a number of factors. Population growth, change in dietary practices, increased disposable incomes and changing commodity prices in some emerging economies are a few factors that some suggest, have contributed to such growth. Although slower than before, population growth particularly in the least developed countries is quite high. As income increases, people tend to opt for high‐value food items, often translating into a market for high‐value processed food. In markets in the European Union and the United States, dietary change also means consumers are opting for healthier foods, such as organic products and food with traceable supply chain histories. In addition, food demand increases faster in poorer countries with increasing incomes since most of the income goes to purchasing food items. 5 Source: COMTRADE 2011 Agricultural imports have grown more rapidly in some Asia‐Pacific countries than in others. For example, Japan and China ranked 4th and 13th in terms of average annual agricultural imports in the world during 2000‐08. Based on the indices relative to the import value, imports of agricultural products in the top 10 Asia‐Pacific countries 5 grew at an average annual rate of 12% from 2000‐2008; the corresponding figure for top 50 importers of the World 6 is 13%. The main Asia‐Pacific economies that influenced the most to this growth of course consist of China, followed by the Russian Federation, India, Malaysia, Thailand, the Republic of Korea and Japan among a few others. During 2000‐08, import growth‐trend of China, Russian Federation and India have surpassed the European Union and the United States. (see Fig III). It is important to note the growth of the three fast...
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