MANILA, PHILIPPINES - Trade and investment in the Asia and Pacific region are expected to benefit from a $900,000 grant from Japan and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) that will improve trade policy formation and strengthen institutional capacity within the region.

The Japan Special Fund will provide the grant through ADB to promote an integrated and practical regional approach to enhance trade and investment among developing member countries (DMCs).

The assistance is expected to improve awareness among DMCs of trade-related requirements and provide an effective approach to closing regional gaps through aid-for-trade. The grant will also strengthen private-public partnerships in facilitating trade.

The institutional capacity of DMCs in dealing with free trade agreements and deepening subregional trade integration will also be enhanced.

"ADB has actively supported trade integration and facilitation through the years as a means to increase investment and trade, and, ultimately, reduce poverty in the region," said Ganeshan Wignaraja, Principal Economist of ADB's Office of Regional Economic Integration. "This technical assistance seeks to strengthen ADB's efforts at the regional level to improve the capacity of DMCs to trade effectively and efficiently."

The grant, among other things, will create an aid-for-trade road map for Asia and the Pacific to define regional trade-related constraints and design an effective regional aid-for-trade approach. It will also facilitate regional trade by adopting effective regional trade facilitation measures, strengthening trade facilitation initiatives through strong private-public partnerships, and enhancing institutional capacity.

Broad-based participation through stronger public-private partnership and effective coordination with other trade-related projects in the region are crucial to adopting an integrated and practical regional approach to trade.

The technical assistance will be implemented in partnership with global and regional institutions such as the World Trade Organization and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.