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Bold Agenda for Trade on Human Terms in Asia-Pacific: Laos

29 June 2006

Laos - Free trade can benefit the poor of Asia-Pacific if countries adopt bold new policies that harness trade and economic growth to promote people’s well-being, the United Nations Development Programme announced today in the Asia-Pacific Human Development Report 2006, the first in a new annual series focusing on critical development issues in the region.

Opening to international trade has helped growth to soar and income poverty to substantially decline in many parts of the region, the Report acknowledged. Asia-Pacific now operates as the “factory of the world,” it said, both for cheap, labour-intensive manufactures as well as high-tech goods. East Asia’s “miracle” economies have especially used trade to multiply their exports and accelerate progress in combating the other aspects of deprivation, including education, health and gender equality.