The Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) aims to promote trade facilitation as an important component of a comprehensive strategy for national and regional development.1
The APTFF has been co-organized jointly by ESCAP and ADB and a growing number of partner organizations since 2009. It now attracts two to three hundreds participants from 30 countries each year. As such, it has become the main annual open regional platform to exchange information, experiences and practices for trade facilitation in Asia-Pacific, identify priority areas for regional cooperation and integration, and learn about new tools and services which can increase the efficiency of cross-border transactions. The Forum also intends to strengthen regional cooperation and coordination of Aid for Trade and related technical assistance and capacity building in trade facilitation.
In addition to regular panels and breakout sessions, the APTFF features an Exhibition on Trade Facilitation in parallel, to maximize information sharing on the works, practices, case studies and findings of trade facilitation service providers, researchers, as well as development/donor agencies, international organizations and government agencies.
A number of other side events on trade facilitation are generally also held back-to-back with the Forum, typically in partnership with the host country as well as other relevant organizations, including the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), the World Customs Organization and the World Bank. This approach has been found not only to be both cost effective and helpful in strengthening inter-agency collaboration.
- Enable sharing of experiences and knowledge on trade facilitation between countries of the greater Asia and Pacific region including LDCs and LLDCs
- Foster increased understanding and exchange of views between public and private stakeholders, as well with trade facilitation standards developers and technical assistance providers
- Learn about and draw lessons from on-going implementation of national and regional trade facilitation measures
- Introduce relevant international tools, instruments, and facilities aimed at increasing the efficiency of regional and global cross-border trade, including latest tools by the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific
Format of the event
- Senior government officials involved in import, export, and transit policy, facilitation and control - to learn from the experience of some of the most successful countries in the region, as well as gain insights from those of other countries that may face similar difficulties; To gain a unique understanding of the regional trade facilitation situation and to increase awareness of available tools and solutions to reduce red tape and improve competitiveness; To interact with experienced developer of electronic trade facilitation systems and donors for possible collaboration.
- International organizations and development agencies with an interest or on-going activities on trade facilitation in Asia-Pacific – to share information on their activities and initiatives they support in the area of trade facilitation; To learn what others are doing in this area and identify opportunities for cooperation and potential synergies.
- Trade facilitation service providers – to inform and network with participants from a unique set of emerging economies about services offered and potential impact on trade efficiency; To understand the problems faced by traders, regulators and development agencies and identify opportunities for the development of relevant services and solutions.
- Trade and development policy analysts and researchers from the region – to share findings with policy makers and other government officials influencing or implementing trade regulations; to understand the practical problems faced by traders, regulators and development agencies and identify relevant research questions accordingly.
- Plenary sessions: These sessions feature panels of experienced policy makers/analysts/presenters/experts to introduce selected issues of broad regional relevance and interest, followed by open discussion.
- Breakout sessions: The breakout sessions provide an opportunity for participants to share experiences and discuss specific trade facilitation topics in details, often within the context of their own sub region.
- Multimedia Exhibition: The exhibition is designed to enable trade facilitation service providers, researchers/analysts, development/donor agencies, international organizations and government agencies to showcase their work or presenting relevant case studies or findings in an interactive manner.
- Side events: these events are held to maximize learning and capacity building on trade facilitation of participants attending the Forum. While the nature and number of side events vary every year, they generally include a study tour organized by the host country, as well as technical workshops co-organized with the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), WCO or other members of the Global Facilitation Partnerships for Trade and Transport (GFP).
1 Asia-Pacific as defined by ESCAP and ADB covers South, Southeast, East, Northeast, and Central Asia as well as the South Pacific.