World trade continues to be severely affected by global supply chain disruptions, exacerbated by shocks including the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. These challenges attest to the value of supporting and reinforcing trade facilitation measures to enhance resilience in all regions, as a basis for sustainable and inclusive development.
In this context, UNECE was invited to participate, for the tenth time, in the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF), held from 29 August to 1 September 2022. Since the first APTFF in 2009, the Forum has relied on UNECE and its initiatives and instruments for the facilitation of global trade, including UN/CEFACT Recommendations and Standards. In response to multiple shocks ranging from pandemics to conflicts, this year’s theme on supply chain resilience and sustainable economic recovery strongly relates to the work of UNECE and its subsidiary body UN/CEFACT, making it a key partner in this 2022 Forum.
The Forum, focused on economic development in the Asia-Pacific region, will help strengthen the existing partnership between UNECE and ESCAP, which already work together on sustainable trade facilitation in Asia by providing capacity building and technical assistance. The key message that UNECE would like to bring forward to the Forum is that sustainable trade facilitation increasingly relies on the global implementation of international and harmonized standards, especially for electronic business and traceability of value chains.
A series of side-events during the Forum were organized, such as the United Nations Network of Experts (UNNexT) Advisory Committee, the Workshop on International Standards for Trade Facilitation, and the meeting on Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation (ROC-TF). These events also allowed UNECE to share information and best practices, exchange ideas and brainstorm about the potential cooperation on capacity building, application of international standards for electronic certificates and traceability developed by UN/CEFACT.
As underlined by the WTO Director-General: “trade is part of the solution to the crises of our time”. Jointly, UNECE and ESCAP will continue to focus on cooperation for facilitating trade and accelerating progress towards achieving the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.
For further information about UNECE’s activities on trade facilitation, please visit https://unece.org/trade.