Although paper-based trade documents are still required in most countries, technologies and legal frameworks make it possible to eliminate paper requirements in border procedures. Introduction of paperless trade and customs environment, enabling to exchange trade-related information between public and private sector electronically, has become an increasingly popular trade facilitation measure in the Asia-Pacific region. The paperless trade and customs environment brings real benefits for both business and governments. Moreover, it meets two ˇ°eˇ± phenomena of the 21st century ¨C it is electronic and environmentally friendly. Paperless trade reduces paperwork, thus carbon production, and satisfies the needs of the international trade environment in terms of efficiency, effectiveness and security.
A number of countries in the Asia-Pacific region have introduced or initiated paperless trade in commercial trade transactions or regulatory procedures. If based on sound business models, enabling legal framework recognizing electronic signatures and international standards, implementation of paperless trade can enhance trade competitiveness and promote economic integration at the subregional and regional level.
Although some progress has been made in the ASEAN and APEC-related single window and paperless trade initiatives, there is a great potential for other countries and subregions to establish similar systems. In particular, the most of the countries in the Greater Mekong Subregion, Central Asia and in South Asia have introduced Electronic Data Interchange (EDI) for customs clearance procedures and adopted strategies for developing a single window system. To be able to make better informed decisions, both policy makers as well as the business community need information on the suitable business models, cost/benefits analysis and financial issues involved in implementing the paperless trade and single window environment.
ABOUT THE SYMPOSIUM
The Symposium is organized under the joint ESCAP and UNECE project ˇ°Enhancing Trade Competitiveness of Least Developed Countries, Countries in Transition and Transit Countries through the Implementation of Single Window Facilitiesˇ±, funded under the United Nations Development Account (6th Tranche).
The main objective of this Symposium is to enable senior-level policy makers and practitioners to make better informed decisions to meet the fundamental preconditions for introducing the paperless trade and single window environment as well as manage regulatory and administrative change arising from this process.
Based on the national and subregional success stories in implementing the paperless trade and single window initiatives in the Asia-Pacific region, the High-Level Symposium on Building Regional Capacity for Paperless Trade will showcase:
- Business models for single window and paperless trade, including management, financial and operating arrangements;
- Legal framework enabling lodgment and exchange of trade information of a single window and paperless trade;
- Harmonization of trade information with international standards;
- Implementation issues and available technologies.
The Symposium will launch the United Nations Network for Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, which will provide a regional community of knowledge and practice to facilitate the implementation of single window and paperless trade and to empower the national experts.