Manila, 11 February 2022 (TDI): According to the Asian Development Bank (ADB), export growth in the Asia Pacific region has seen tremendous growth despite ongoing challenges with supply chain disruptions and the COVID-19 pandemic, including the spread of the new highly infectious Omicron variant.

Data from the Asian Economic Integration Report suggests that growth was quite substantial as Asia Pacific trade grew about 30% in early 2021. Despite a contraction of 3.1% in 2020 trading amongst economies has rebounded successfully. Intra-regional trade hit 58.5% in 2020 which is the highest it has ever been since 1990.

Albert Park, the Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank lauded these figures, saying they are indicative of the resilient recovery of trade within the region.

“The pandemic has caused visible economic damage and reversed many of the region’s hard-won gains in reducing poverty. We must build on the achievements of regional integration and cooperation to support a return to inclusive and sustainable economic growth.” -ADB Chief Economist, Albert Park.

Despite the impressive rebound in trade, the recent surge in COVID-19 cases has put economies within this region at great risk again. Countries like South Korea and Japan have started levying austere restrictions on their business with traveling between these economies have come to a standstill, on the other hand, countries in North America and Europe have just started reopening their economies.

The President of the Asian Development Bank, Masatsugu Asakawa said that restrictions are harder to justify now given high vaccination rates. He added that without vaccinations, mobility restrictions helped keep the pandemic in check and also prevented the straining of health systems but with good progress on vaccinations large-scale lockdowns and their resultant economic costs are not justifiable.

Additionally, he added that macroeconomic recovery must not be hampered by pandemic and other factors, the pandemic must be kept in check not through strict lockdowns but by making sure vaccinations are happening as quickly as possible and influences from more advanced economies also need to be covered to ensure continual growth in the region.