Enhancing Regional Connectivity: Towards a Regional Arrangement for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade

image of Enhancing Regional Connectivity: Towards a Regional Arrangement for the Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade
Current implementation of paperless trade systems in the Asia-Pacific region focuses on application to domestic parts of trade processes, while international trade inherently requires trade information to flow across borders along internal supply chains. With current practices of paperless trade implementation limited predominately to the national level, the flow of trade information does not continue along an international supply chain; thus, it is being disrupted at the borders and results in traders turning to conventional paper-based trade practices. Yet given the fact that those countries in the region that are benefiting from implementing paperless trade only at domestic level, it is not difficult to see that efficiency gains will be considerably greater when the flow of trade information is facilitated across borders. This will, in turn, undoubtedly lead to major improvements in regional connectivity. Comprising three chapters and three annexes, this publication comprehensively assesses the current status of paperless trade in the region and beyond, elaborates on the need for having regional arrangements to facilitate cross-border paperless trade, and provides specific direction and details for putting a practical regional arrangement in place.



Review of existing arrangements for the facilitation of paperless trade

This chapter attempts to review various initiatives taken at the individual country level as well as bilateral, regional and global levels to facilitate paperless trade. These initiatives range from putting single window systems in place to electronic exchanges of cross-border trade data and documentation for administration, trade and commerce. Such a review is important as it provides important lessons for formulating a viable regional arrangement for facilitating paperless trade. It should be noted that while several successful initiatives have been taken at the country level to establish single window systems, there are relatively few examples of such arrangements for cross-border exchanges of information in a paperless mode. Some international organizations, such as the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) group, have suggested a step-by-step move towards cross-border paperless trade in which the first step should be to develop a national Single Window. The next step should be to interlink these national Single Windows to facilitate cross-border paperless exchanges of information and documentation. However, in practice, several different models have been followed for cross-border paperless trade.


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