I would like to convey my sincere compliments to the Interim Intergovernmental Steering Group for its hard work since 2014.
The Group has not only developed a ground-breaking United Nations treaty to accelerate trade digitalization but has also developed paperless trade readiness assessment checklists that have been applied in more than a dozen countries in Asia and the Pacific. This tool is now also being used by countries in other parts of the world as well to speed up paperless trade implementation.
Your work on drafting an implementation roadmap for the Framework Agreement will greatly facilitate the work of the Paperless Trade Council, which will convene on 27 April, right after this Steering Group meeting, marking the implementation of the Framework Agreement.
In this connection, I would like to strongly encourage member States who have not yet done so to complete their accession to the Framework Agreement at the earliest.
Becoming a party will show the rest of the world that your country has the political will needed to achieve its digital transformation through regional and multilateral cooperation.
Many of your countries have made commitments to paperless trading through various bilateral and regional trade agreements and participation in the treaty can help you deliver these commitments.
I call on countries both with advanced paperless trade solutions in place and those that are keen to catch up on trade digitalization to join now. Parties can build on what has been already done to develop more inclusive, interoperable and sustainable solutions.
I also call on all development partners to support the implementation of the treaty by making available necessary resources to implement national and regional actions plans and pilot projects that will be developed and prioritized as the treaty implementation begins later this week.
The secretariat stands ready to provide information and support.
Thank you very much.