The rise of the intra-Asia trade

Setting the stage for the roundtable session on the intra-Asian trade, Mark Whitehead, chief executive of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl) noted that with 4.4 billion people in Asia – comprised of 1.4 billion in China, 1.3 billion in India and 600,000 in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region – this will be major driving force for economic growth in the coming years.


The rise of the intra-Asia trade


Setting the stage for the roundtable session on the intra-Asian trade, Mark Whitehead, chief executive of Hong Kong Air Cargo Terminals Ltd (Hactl) noted that with 4.4 billion people in Asia – comprised of 1.4 billion in China, 1.3 billion in India and 600,000 in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) region – this will be major driving force for economic growth in the coming years.

Already, looking at 2014 figures, while global GDP grew at 3.3 per cent and global trade at 4.7 per cent, Asia’s GDP grew at 5.5 per cent while its trade growth registered six per cent. China was still the main driving force behind this, with a 7.5 per cent GDP and eight per cent trade growth.

And just as Asia’s share of trade with Europe and North America dropped from 40-33 per cent between 2003 and 2013, its share of intra-regional trade grew from 50-54 per cent. Whitehead noted this is expected to continue and even pick up pace in the coming decade.

On the back of these GDP and trade figures, Whitehead noted that the intra- Asia air cargo trade lane is forecast to grow at 6.5 per cent in the ten years between 2013 and 2023, up significantly on the world air cargo growth forecast of 4.7 per cent. Currently the top five intra-Asia air cargo routes are China- Korea, Japan-Korea, Hong Kong-Korea, Hong Kong-Taiwan and China-Japan. Further down the list of ‘top tens’, emerges Southeast Asia’s Singapore (with Australia) and Thailand (with Japan).