Ground-breaking repository of paperless trade solutions seeks submissions

  • 6 September 2022
technology, data, digital

The International Chamber of Commerce and The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) are calling on public and private service providers to submit best practices for a new online repository of cross-border paperless trade initiatives and solutions.

Launched during the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum by UNESCAP’s Chief of Trade Policy and Facilitation, Yann Duval, in partnership with the ICC Digital Standards Initiative, the one-stop Cross-border paperless Trade (CBPT) Database aims to showcase projects and services relevant to cross-border paperless trade.

The publicly available online repository of legal instruments and implementation instruments will support trade facilitation and promote close and sustained collaboration between countries, including through the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.

During the Forum, delegates further encouraged ratification of the Framework agreement, which has the potential to step up paperless trade development, while harmonizing and building upon a number of bilateral and subregional instruments already developed.

Mr Duval said: “Finding reliable information on cross-border paperless trade projects remains a challenge, as many projects are still at the pilot or PoC stage. The new database provides a one-stop shop to learn from existing project cases and services, to promote harmonisation and cooperation among public and private stakeholders. It covers G-to-G, B-to-G and B-to-B initiatives to exchange trade-related data electronically across borders. We look forward to further developing the database in close cooperation with ICC DSI.

The database will be an essential source of information for ESCAP member states as they proceed with implementation of the UN treaty on cross-border paperless trade facilitation in Asia and the Pacific, but also to all those who want to further accelerate the digitalization of their trade processes. Achieving seamless cross-border paperless trade is ambitious but is expected to cut trade transaction costs by at least 13% across the region.”

Since 2009, the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) has been the leading regional platform for the exchange of good practices and knowledge on trade facilitation attracting over 250 participants from over 30 countries and offering extensive opportunities for capacity building and cooperation. This year’s event underscored the importance of accelerating trade digitalisation and the move to paperless trade. In addition to a 13% reduction in trade costs, achieving paperless trade would be equivalent to planting 400 million trees.

Hannah Nguyen, Director of Digital Ecosystems for the ICC Digital Standards Initiative (DSI) led a Forum workshop looking at international standards for trade facilitation aiming to raise awareness of existing international standards. The ICC and WTO recently launched the Standards Toolkit for Cross-border Paperless Trade to help drive adoption, identify potential gaps and promote interoperability.

Ms Nguyen also represented ICC as a judge of the APTFF Trade Facilitation Innovation Award.

Ms Nguyen said:

“Through the DSI and other pioneering initiatives ICC remains committed to ensuring that systems used by all stakeholders are interoperable, and that businesses and government stakeholders are enabled to significantly improve cross-border trade efficiencies, visibility and resilience to enhance the overall performance and sustainability of supply chains.”