The Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (CPTA), a UN treaty, aims at accelerating the implementation of digital trade facilitation measures for trade and development. Bangladesh ratified the treaty in October 2020 and is in the process of preparing for the implementation of the treaty.
ADB’s SASEC Integrated Trade Facilitation Sector Development Program (SDP) has a policy-based component, which requires the Government of Bangladesh to fulfil 10 Policy Actions in the current tranche. One of the Policy Actions requires the Government to prepare a roadmap to implement the substantive provisions of the CPTA. Ministry of Commerce (MoC), Government of Bangladesh is the Executing Agency (EA) for this Policy Action, as well as the nodal for the CPTA in Bangladesh.
The CPTA envisages the development of an implementation schedule for each Party, based on a self-assessment of their readiness. A Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade was prepared in 2019 by ESCAP covering findings from the technical and legal readiness assessments and recommendations. The readiness assessment report is being updated by ADB and ESCAP to account for the developments related to paperless trade in Bangladesh and to take stock of the ongoing activities.
In this regard, ADB and ESCAP, in collaboration, are supporting Bangladesh’s implementation of the substantive provisions of the CPTA. The preparatory work has been conducted for the update of the Checklists, leading to the consultation sessions. The collaboration between ADB and ESCAP will continue through the planned joint publication of the updated readiness assessment for cross-border paperless trade, and subsequent follows-ups on the implementation of the CPTA.
Also, ESCAP is conducting a national feasibility study on cross-border electronic exchange of trade data, as a follow-up to the readiness assessment in 2019. The study has a particular focus on identifying feasible trade documents (including data elements) and data exchange mechanism(s) for initiating cross-border electronic exchange of trade data between Bangladesh and neighbouring countries and main trading partners.
Objective of the Consultation Sessions
A preliminary exercise has been conducted to gather information for updating the checklists on the Technical and Legal Readiness Assessments as well as the draft national feasibility study through a national consultant. With the help of domain experts (international consultants), it is proposed to hold consultation sessions with the stakeholders on the actions taken by them since 2019 as well as the ongoing actions towards paperless trade to update the checklists and the draft feasibility study. The consultation would be done on 22-24 February 2023 virtually for updating the legal readiness assessment and on 1-2 March 2023 physically for updating the technical readiness assessment and draft feasibility study.