Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation in Asia and the Pacific 2015

Date of publication: 
Monday, April 25, 2016

This regional report presents data on trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation from 44 economies in the Asia-Pacific region and covering 5 different sub-regions. Since 2012, ESCAP Secretariat has conducted an annual regional survey to systematically collect and analyze information on the implementation of trade facilitation measures in the region, in order to provide a basis for developing more relevant capacity building and technical assistance and to assist countries to design and prioritize their own trade facilitation implementation plans and strategies. It covers not only implementation of some important measures included in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) but also of measures aimed at enabling paperless trade, or the conduct of trade using electronic rather than paper-based data and documentation. In September 2014, the United Nations Regional Commissions (UNRCs) including ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP and ESCWA, in close collaboration with UNCTAD, OECD, ITC, OCO and SELA, initiated a global survey to collect data and information on trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation from their respective member states. This report is part of the new global effort and features the results of the 2015 UNRCs Joint Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade implementation for the Asia-Pacific region.

This regional report examines the implementation levels of various groups of trade facilitation measures and reviews some of the key trade facilitation achievements and challenges reported in the Asia-Pacific region. In the assessment of over 30 trade facilitation measures, the regional average trade facilitation implementation is close to 50% in the Asia and the Pacific. This suggests that there is significant room for progress. The data shows that a large majority of countries in the region has been actively engaged in implementing measures to improve transparency, enhance inter-agency coordination and cooperation, and streamline fees and formalities associated with trade. The analysis of regional and sub-regional trade facilitation implementation levels found that East and Southeast Asia are performing well above the Asia-Pacific average. Furthermore, it was found that cross-border paperless trade facilitation is the least implemented of all groups of measures. The report lays out the key findings from the regional survey and provides empirical evidence for advancing trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region.