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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.

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The need for regional arrangements on paperless trade in Asia and the Pacific

Before examining the need for regional arrangements on paperless trade, it is worthwhile looking briefly at the need for paperless trade per se. As the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) (2006) has pointed out, billions of paper documents are used in international trade by traders and administrations. This is happening despite phenomenal advances in information and communications technology (ICT). The arguments supporting a changeover from paper documents to paperless trade are now well-known.

English

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