The Asian Economic Integration Report 2017 introduces a new composite index to gauge the progress of regional cooperation and integration (RCI) in Asia and the Pacific. RCI plays an important role in supporting economic growth and poverty reduction, and has been high on the development agenda for many Asian economies in recent years. Supporting RCI is one of ADB's key strategic priorities for development assistance in the region. An index that calibrates the status of RCI can be a useful policy tool for assessing the progress of RCI efforts especially by various subregional initiatives.
In 2016, Asia's trade (by volume) grew faster than global trade, but remained below its economic growth. Asia's trade growth picked up to 1.7% in 2016 from 1.4% in 2015, while the world trade growth decelerated to 1.3% from 2.6%. Ongoing global economic recovery lifted demand for the region's exports, particularly from Japan; Taipei,China; Hong Kong, China; and Viet Nam.