The lack of participation of domestic enterprises in regional and global markets is one of the main causes of slow growth observed in some developing and transition economies. While geography and poor physical infrastructure are important factors in explaining such exclusion, non-physical obstacles to trade, such as cumbersome and unpredictable export/import procedures, also significantly affect trade costs and the ability of firms in developing countries to participate in international production networks.
In an effort to enhance supply chain efficiency and trade competitiveness, many countries, both developed and developing, have begun to implement national single window and other paperless systems. The Global Trade Facilitation Conference 2013, under the theme of " Beyond Single Window: Paperless Supply Chains for Trade Facilitation and Inclusive Development" will provide a unique opportunity to review the latest developments in this area and discuss a way forward to ensure that the emergence of paperless supply chains leads to both trade facilitation and more inclusive development. The conference is expected to contribute to building the capacity of participating policymakers and managers from government agencies and the private sector by exposing them to good practices from around the World as well as to relevant trade facilitation implementation tools.
The conference is organized in collaboration and other UN Regional Commissions (UNRCs) as part of the implementation of the United Nations Development Account (7th tranche) project on “Strengthening the Capacity of Developing and Transition Economies to Link to Global Supply Chains through the Reduction of Trade Obstacles”. The conference is also supported by the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT). UNNExT is a community of knowledge and practice for experts in developing countries in paperless trade and trade facilitation. Activities of UNNExT include tools and guide development, conducting training activities, providing advisory services, knowledge sharing, and research and analysis. More information on UNNExT is available at: http://www.unescap.org/unnext/unnext.asp.
The first global conference under that project and the UNRCs Joint Approach to Trade Facilitation took place in December 2011 in Geneva. More information on the first conference including the outcome document is available at: