Ladies and gentlemen,
Welcome to the launch of the ESCAP’s Trade Intelligence and Negotiation Advisor (TINA) 3.0.
International trade has been responsible for much of the economic and social progress in Asia and the Pacific. It has helped lift millions of people out of extreme poverty in the region and beyond.
In 2020, facilitating trade rather than restricting trade was the priority of most trade policymakers, as they focused on securing access to essential supplies to respond to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Yet, international trade is subject to barriers. The progress to address them through multilateral processes has been slow. As a result, many member States resort to bilateral, plurilateral and regional trade agreements to gain swifter access to benefits offered by international trade.
As of December 2020, there were 184 trade agreements in force involving at least one Asia-Pacific regional member State, with another hundred either signed or under negotiation.
While the pandemic has temporarily slowed down some negotiations, trade agreements have continued to grow, both in number but also in scope and complexity.
As we work together to advance the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, many economies in the region need help in effectively preparing for trade negotiations and assessing the benefits of prospective trade deals.
Member States about to graduate from the least developed countries status are in most need for international support measures, as they need to negotiate new trade agreements to secure some of the trade preferences they previously received.
At ESCAP, we have developed Trade Intelligence and Negotiation Advisor (TINA). TINA is an online tool designed to assist trade policymakers and negotiators to carry out many of the analytical tasks commonly conducted in preparation for trade agreement negotiations.
These tasks require specialized analytical and data management skills and are time consuming when performed manually. In view of this, TINA automates such tasks, enabling countries with limited resources to benefit from the same level of preparation as those afforded by larger economies.
TINA has been developed in close consultation with current and former members of trade negotiation teams throughout the Asia-Pacific region, using state of the art methodologies and technologies.
I would like to express my sincere appreciation to all the experts who supported and provided feedback during the development of TINA.
ESCAP is committed to develop new partnerships and ideas that will continue to support negotiation of trade agreements to advance an inclusive, resilient and sustainable Asia-Pacific region.
I wish you a very successful launch event. Thank you.