International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in North-East Asia - Cross-border Paperless Trade: In Support of Reinvigorating Trade

4 Dec 2018
Kemerovo, Russian Federation

Trade issues continue to be at the forefront of various multi-lateral and multi-sectoral policy dialogues, predictably, with the further escalation of trade tensions broadly acknowledged as a key risk dimming global economic prospects in the medium-term. Amidst increased uncertainty, there is an urgent call to uphold the vital role of an open and rules-based trade system as an engine of inclusive economic growth and sustainable development, working towards uplifting people’s welfare. Within this context, trade facilitation continues to serve as an important area to reinforce such role of trade. Work on trade facilitation has gained traction through the years. Critical to keep the momentum is to ensure that related initiatives are not only prompt in addressing existing bottlenecks and constraints but are also forward-looking, including leveraging on the use of technology and innovation to further expedite the movement of goods. In this respect, various initiatives on cross-border paperless trade has contributed to make international trade more efficient and transparent in an increasingly interconnected global economy, including ESCAP’s Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.

Now is an opportune time for the Northeast Asian region to further actively pursue cross-border trade facilitation initiatives in view of market access restrictions faced elsewhere as well as favorable geopolitical developments emerging among Northeast Asian economies. Work on trade facilitation is a continuing and evolving process and it is important for policy makers and practitioners to sustain the progress of work through regular policy dialogues and knowledge sharing. To this end, the International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in North-East Asia (International Seminar) brings together senior government officials involved with trade policy as well as trade practitioners to have informed and focused discussions on policy issues related to trade facilitation. Organized by the East and North-East Asia Office (ENEA) of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) with the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI), the International Seminar is held annually since 2011 in conjunction with the meetings of the GTI Trade and Investment Committee and GTI Customs Sub-Committee. ESCAP, through ENEA, and GTI have had a long-standing development cooperation in areas of mutual interests, including trade and investment.