The UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation 2019 reveals that the average implementation of a common set of 31 Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation measures by PIDEs stand at 35.5% significantly lower than the Asia-Pacific regional average of 59.7%. Moreover, PIDEs have the lowest average level of implementation in the region, less than half of AUS-NZL (93%) and even lower than South and South-West Asia (55.4%). In general, more advanced or larger economies are at a higher level of trade facilitation than many other countries in the region, while small or less developed countries, such as LDCs or small Pacific countries, lag in the implementation of trade facilitation measures, particularly paperless and cross-border paperless trade measures.
Although trade facilitation implementation varies widely within each sub-regional grouping, differences in trade facilitation implementation levels are smallest in PIDEs. This can be explained by the strong emphasis on on-going economic cooperation initiatives in this sub-region on trade facilitation – but arguably more likely by the fact that these small and generally isolated economies all face relatively similar implementation constraints. Countries with special needs in the Asia-Pacific region face challenges in implementation of paperless trade and cross-border paperless trade measures, in particular.