World Video | Defence | Foreign Affairs | Natural Events | Trade | NZ in World News | NZ National News Video | NZ Regional News | Search


UN And EIF Launch Interactive Guide On Cross-Border Paperless Trade

Cross-border paperless trade has great potential to not only grow trade competitiveness but also to address new challenges associated with e-commerce and the digital economy. The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), in collaboration with the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL) and the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), today launched an interactive guide to support readiness assessments on cross-border paperless trade.

The Online Readiness Assessment Guide for Cross-border Paperless Trade is designed to support countries in the region to conduct self-assessments of legal and technical readiness on cross-border paperless trade. With the new guide, countries have at their disposal, comprehensive guides on how to conduct readiness assessments, without the need for intensive physical travelling of experts. They will also be able to interact virtually with experts for further guidance on conducting readiness assessment on a request basis.

“The guide being launched today is expected to support member States in conducting self-assessments of their legal and technical readiness for cross-border paperless trade, as a first step towards developing a concrete action plan for implementation. The Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, that the guide is supporting the implementation of, is designed so that countries at all levels of development and digitalization can participate, leaving no one behind. I urge all member States to complete ratification as soon as possible,” said United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of ESCAP, Ms. Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana at the launch.

“The Online Readiness Assessment Guide for Cross-border Paperless Trade is an important diagnostic tool to identify opportunities for adopting laws and regulations that enable paperless trade. UNCITRAL texts are a core component of that legal environment. The importance of taking prompt action in this area has recently been highlighted by the discussions on how to mitigate the economic effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. ­We are pleased to have cooperated with ESCAP and EIF in preparing this Online Guide and look forward to work with all concerned partners to support States in this critical endeavor,” shared Ms. Anna Joubin-Bret, Secretary, UNCITRAL.

“The potential benefits from digitalization of trade processes are substantial. The online interactive guide on cross-border paperless trade will be instrumental in supporting countries to assess their technical and legal gaps in electronic exchange of trade data and documents with other trading partners. We look forward to working with our partners, including ESCAP, to support least developed countries in the region to strengthen their institutional capacity and harmonize data standards towards the vision of an Asia-Pacific paperless trading environment,” said the Executive Director of the Executive Secretariat for the EIF, Dr. Ratnakar Adhikari.

Readiness assessments on cross-border paperless trade support implementation of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, which will soon enter into force on 20 February 2021. Five countries – Azerbaijan, Philippines, Islamic Republic of Iran, Bangladesh and China - have thus far ratified or acceded to this UN treaty. In addition, Armenia and Cambodia have signed in 2017, with several more in the process of completing their domestic processes for accession.

The treaty, with its common set of general principles and a dedicated intergovernmental platform, will support countries in building on the bilateral and subregional digital trade solutions they have already developed to achieve greater, region-wide paperless trade. By enabling exchange and legal recognition of trade data and documents, it could reduce trade costs by 25 per cent across the Asia-Pacific region and support more seamless and resilient trade.

Moreover, the policy responses to the COVID-19 pandemic are having a significant impact on the cost of trading goods across borders. Despite measures taken by many countries to keep goods moving across borders, ESCAP research reveals that international trade costs faced by importers and exporters in the region are expected to rise by 7 per cent on average this year, with some facing increases in costs exceeding 20 per cent.

The new guide is relevant to all countries globally, as it can support the implementation of not only the treaty but also the full digital implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The Online Readiness Assessment Guide resulted from strong partnerships and continuous efforts in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. It is based on legal and technical readiness assessment checklists developed by the Interim Intergovernmental Steering Group on Cross-border Paperless Trade Facilitation at ESCAP and its Legal and Technical Working Groups, with contributions from the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT). It benefited from the legal expertise on e-commerce of the UNCITRAL, as well as support from the EIF under a joint project on facilitating cross-border trade in LDCs for sustainable development. It also incorporates lessons learned from other ESCAP trade facilitation projects funded by China, the Russian Federation as well as the Republic of Korea.

Access the readiness guide and tool here:

© Scoop Media

World Headlines


Covid: 250 Groups Urge WTO Chief To Ditch Pharma-Friendly Approach And Embrace Vaccine Patent Waiver

by Jake Johnson, staff writer An international coalition of 250 civil society groups on Tuesday urged the head of the World Trade Organization to embrace a temporary suspension of coronavirus vaccine-related patents, warning against pursuit of a voluntary ... More>>

Samoa’s Stunning Election Result: On The Verge Of A New Ruling Party For The First Time In 40 Years

Tamasailau Suaalii Sauni , University of Auckland and Patricia A. O'Brien , Georgetown University Samoan politics is on a knife edge. After the country voted in general elections on April 9, counting so far has resulted in a dead heat between the two ... More>>

Timor-Leste: UN Agencies Support Response In Wake Of Deadly Floods

United Nations agencies in Timor-Leste are supporting response efforts, as floods and landslides left widespread damage across the country, including in the capital, Dili. According to media reports, at least 21 people died in the country and many ... More>>

Focus On: UN SDGs

Awake At Night: S3-Episode 21: There Is Hope

Brazzaville visit to CSI Pilote du Diabete with Health workers at a local government clinic. 2018 - Photo: ©CSI/Dr. Soumya Swaminathan 'When it comes to a pandemic, it really needs global collaboration and solidarity because the pathogens and viruses More>>

UN: Growing Calls For Revamping Development Financing To Ensure Sustainable Global Recovery From COVID-19 Pandemic

Forum to highlight new initiatives to tackle inequalities exacerbated by pandemic With many economies reeling as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, and as inequalities continue to widen, world leaders will discuss options to unlock concrete investments ... More>>

How Can We Vaccinate The World? Five Challenges Facing The UN-Backed COVAX Programme

The aim of the UN-backed COVAX scheme is to get two billion vaccine doses into the arms of around a quarter of the population of poorer countries by the end of 2021. What are the main challenges that need to be overcome, if this historic global effort ... More>>