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Joint Unrc Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation Survey 2015

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This report features the results of the first UNRC's Joint Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation that was initiated in September 2014. The survey aims to enable countries and their development partners to better understand and monitor progress in trade facilitation, support evidence-based policy-making, identify good practices and define capacity building and technical assistance needs. It provides an overview of the current state of trade facilitation implementation in 119 economies across 8 regions worldwide, including some of the key trade facilitation measures featured in the WTO TFA Agreement, as well as more advanced cross-border paperless trade measures.


Joint United Nations Regional Commissions


Trade Facilitation


and Paperless Trade


Implementation Survey 2015


Global Report




Institutional
arrangement


and
cooperation


Transparency


Formalities


Paperless
trade


Cross-border
paperless trade







Copyright © United Nations 2015
All rights reserved


The report is available at: http://unnext.unescap.org/UNTFsurvey2015.asp


Disclaimers:


The designation employed and the presentation of the material in the Report do not imply the


expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the Secretariat of the United Nations


concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or


concerning the delimitation of its frontiers or boundaries. The United Nations bears no


responsibility for the availability or functioning of URLs.


Opinions, figures and estimates set forth in this publication are the responsibility of the authors,


and should not necessarily be considered as reflecting the views or carrying the endorsement of


the United Nations. Any errors are the responsibility of the authors. Mention of firm names and


commercial products does not imply the endorsement of the United Nations.


The report has been issued without formal editing.








i


Foreword


In September 2014, the United Nations Regional Commissions (UNRCs) i.e. ECA, ECE, ECLAC,


ESCAP and ESCWA initiated a global survey to collect data and information on trade facilitation and


paperless trade implementation from their respective member states. Conducted in collaboration with


OECD, ITC, and UNCTAD as well as several sub-regional organizations, the survey aims to enable


countries and their development partners to better understand and monitor progress in trade


facilitation, support evidence-based policy-making, identify good practices and define capacity building


and technical assistance needs.


The global survey represents a key initiative under the framework of the Joint UNRC Approach


to Trade Facilitation which was agreed upon by the Executive Secretaries of the five UNRCs in Beirut in


January 2010 in order to enable the UNRCs to present a joint and global perspective on key trade


facilitation issues. An important feature of this first global survey is its coverage of two major


implementation areas. The first is implementation of selected, important measures under the WTO


Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) finalized in December 2013. Second, the Global Survey also looks at


the implementation of innovative and technology-driven measures aimed at enabling trade using


electronic rather than paper-based data or and documentation -- otherwise referred to as “paperless


trade”. The importance of the second measures cannot be overstated. In fact, a recent ESCAP study


found that these “next generation” trade facilitation measures have just as much potential as more


traditional measures to reduce trade costs and boost intra- and extra-regional trade. Full


implementation of cross-border paperless trade is expected to generate USD 257 billion of additional


export potential annually for the Asia-Pacific region alone.1


As United Nations members gear up to meet the challenges of Agenda 2030, international trade


- along with science, technology and innovation - will be one of the key means of implementing


sustainable development goals. We hope that this first Global Report, by providing initial benchmarks


that can contribute to the policy-making process, will provide a useful basis for economies around the


world to make trade simpler and cheaper through the use and application of technology and innovation


in international trade procedures.



_________


Mr. Stephen


Karingi, Director,


Regional


Integration and


Trade Division,


ECA


__________


Ms. Virginia Cram-


Martos, Director,


Economic


Cooperation and


Trade Division,


ECE


___________


Mr. Mario Cimoli,


O.i.C., International


Trade and


Integration Division,


ECLAC


___________


Ms. Susan Stone,


Director, Trade


and Investment


Division,


ESCAP


_____________


Mr. Mohamed El


Moctar El Hacene,


Director, Economic


Development and


Integration Division,


ESCWA



1
http://www.unescap.org/resources/estimating-benefits-cross-border-paperless-trade




ii




Acknowledgments




The global survey was initiated and led by the ESCAP Secretariat, in close collaboration with the other


United Nations Regional Commissions (UNRCs). UNRC staff members who directly contributed to the


global report include (in alphabetical order of the UNRCs): Giovanni Valensisi from ECA; Khan Salehin


from ECE; Sebastián Herreros and Tania Garcia-Millan from ECLAC; Yann Duval, Tengfei Wang, Chorthip


Utoktham, Dimitra Tsoulou, Pamela Anne Bayona and Daniel Rabaioli from ESCAP; and Adel Al-Ghaberi


from ESCWA. Data collection and preparation of the global report was coordinated by Tengfei Wang


under the guidance of Yann Duval. Constructive reviews and comments from Bismark Sitoru,


Mohammed Saeed and Aman Saggu on various drafts of the report are gratefully acknowledged.


Many other organizations and individuals contributed to this global survey effort. In particular, Evdokia


Moise and Silvia Sorescu from OECD contributed to the design of the survey instrument, while Jan


Hoffman and Bismark Sitorus from UNCTAD, Mohammed Saeed and Charlotta Falenius from


International Trade Centre (ITC), Taina Simpson, Isileli Aholelei and Allwyn Nettofrom from the Oceania


Customs Organization (OCO), Gloria Cañas Arias from El Sistema Económico Latinoamericano y del


Caribe (SELA) and Jens Hügel (IRU) facilitated data collection and/or verification. The United Nations


Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT),2 a knowledge


community supported by ESCAP and ECE, also greatly facilitated data collection. Comments and


suggestions received from participants to the UNRC side event to the 5th Global Review on Aid for Trade


(Geneva, 1 July 2015),3 where the preliminary findings from the global survey were first presented, are


also gratefully acknowledged.





2
http://unnext.unescap.org


3
https://www.wto.org/english/tratop_e/devel_e/a4t_e/aid4trade_e.htm




iii


Contents


Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................ i


Acknowledgments ......................................................................................................................................... ii


Executive Summary ..................................................................................................................................... vi


1. Introduction ........................................................................................................................................... 1


1.1 Background and objective ................................................................................................................... 1


1.2 Survey Instrument and Methodology .................................................................................................. 2


2. Trade facilitation implementation: Overview ....................................................................................... 7


2.1 Implementation in countries with special needs ................................................................................. 9


2.2 Most and least implemented trade facilitation measures .................................................................. 10


3. Implementation of trade facilitation measures: A closer look ............................................................ 12


3.1 “Transparency” measures ................................................................................................................. 12


3.2 “Formalities” measures ..................................................................................................................... 14


3.3 “Institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures .................................................................... 16


3.4 “Paperless trade” measures ............................................................................................................... 17


3.5 “Cross-border paperless trade” measures ......................................................................................... 19


3.6 “Transit facilitation” measures.......................................................................................................... 22


4. Conclusions and Way Forward ........................................................................................................... 24


Annex 1: Definitions of the different stages of implementation ................................................................ 28


Annex 2: Grouping of the countries with special needs ............................................................................. 29


Annex 3: Trade Facilitation Implementation: Economy Scores .................................................................. 30


Annex 4: Global State of Implementation of Selected WTO TFA-related Measures .................................. 34









iv


List of Tables


Table 1: Intra- and extra-regional comprehensive trade costs ..................................................................... 1


Table 2: Grouping of trade facilitation measures included in the questionnaire ......................................... 6


Table 3: Most and least implemented measures (within each group of trade facilitation measures) ...... 11




List of Figures


Figure 1: Implementation of trade facilitation around the World ............................................................... 7


Figure 2: Trade facilitation implementation and GDP per capita ................................................................. 8


Figure 3: Trade facilitation implementation in regions and countries with special needs ........................... 9


Figure 4: Implementation of different groups of trade facilitation measures ........................................... 11


Figure 5: Implementation of “transparency” measures ............................................................................. 12


Figure 6: State of implementation of “transparency” measures (in %) ...................................................... 13


Figure 7: Implementation of trade “formalities” facilitation measures ..................................................... 14


Figure 8: State of implementation of trade “formalities” facilitation measures (in %) .............................. 15


Figure 9: Implementation of “institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures ............................. 16


Figure 10: State of implementation of “institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures for trade


facilitation (in %) ......................................................................................................................................... 17


Figure 11: Implementation of “paperless trade” measures Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015. .................... 18


Figure 12: State of implementation of “paperless trade” measures (in %) ................................................ 19


Figure 13: Implementation of “cross-border paperless trade” measures .................................................. 20


Figure 14: State of implementation of “cross-border paperless trade” measures (in %) .......................... 21


Figure 15: Implementation of “transit facilitation” measures: Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015 ................ 22


Figure 16: State of implementation of “transit facilitation” measures (in %) ............................................ 23


Figure 17: Trade facilitation implementation and Trade Costs .................................................................. 24


Figure 18: Trade facilitation implementation and Logistics Performance .................................................. 25


Figure 19: Moving up the trade facilitation ladder towards seamless international supply chains ........... 26







v


Abbreviations




ADB Asian Development Bank
AEO Authorized economic operator
ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations
ASYCUDA Automated System for Customs Data
ECA United Nations Economic Commission for Africa
ECE United Nations Economic Commission for Europe
ECLAC United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean
ENEA East and North-East Asia
ESCAP United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific
ESCWA United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia
GATT General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade
ITC International Trade Centre
LDC Least developed country
LLDC Landlocked developing country
NCA North and Central Asia
NTFC National trade facilitation committee
OCO Oceania Customs Organization
OECD Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
PIDE Pacific island developing economies
SAARC South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation
SEA South-East Asia
SELA Latin American and Caribbean Economic System
SIDS Small island developing states
SSWA South and South-West Asia
TFA Trade Facilitation Agreement
UN/CEFACT United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business
UNCTAD United Nations Conference on Trade and Development
UNNExT United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport for Asia and the Pacific
UNRC United Nations Regional Commission
USA United States of America
USD United States dollar
WTO World Trade Organization






vi


Executive Summary




Reducing trade costs is essential for developing economies to participate in international production


networks and effectively use trade and as an engine of growth and sustainable development. This can


be accomplished by tackling non-tariff sources of trade costs and addressing cumbersome regulatory


procedures and documentation requirements. Indeed, trade facilitation (the simplification and


harmonization of import, export and transit procedures) including paperless trade (the use and


exchange of electronic data and documents to support the trade transaction process), has taken


increasing importance as evidenced by the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) reached in


December 2013, as well as the growing number of regional and subregional initiatives aimed at


facilitating the electronic exchange of information along international supply chains.


This report features the results of the first UNRCs Joint Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade


Implementation. It provides a forward-looking overview of the current state of trade facilitation


implementation in 119 economies across 8 regions worldwide, including some of the key trade


facilitation measures featured in the WTO TFA Agreement, as well as more advanced cross-border


paperless trade measures. Highlights of the Survey results include the following:


 The global average implementation rate of the ambitious set of trade facilitation measures


considered in this Report stands at 52.9%. Developed Economies have the highest


implementation rate (75.4%), while Pacific Islands have the lowest (26.6%). Among the


Developing regions, Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia achieve high implementation


rates at 64.1% and 58.8%, respectively. Sub-Saharan Africa - which includes some of the poorest


countries in the World – and Europe and Central Asia - which is largely made up of landlocked


developing countries (LLDCs) –both with implementation rates above 40%, do better than South


Asia.


 The Netherlands stands out as the best overall performer. In developing regions, Singapore and


Republic of Korea lead East Asia, United Arab Emirates leads the Middle East and North Africa


region, and Benin and Mauritius lead the Sub-Saharan Africa region. India leads the way in South


Asia while Russia and Turkey lead the Europe and Central Asia region. Several leaders emerge in


Latin America and the Caribbean including Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile.


 More advanced economies do not always achieve higher implementation rates than smaller or


less developed countries. More than 50 economies with GDP per capita of less than $10,000


achieve implementation rates higher than 50%. For example, Ecuador has an overall


implementation rate of 81%.


 LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDSs have achieved average implementation rates of nearly 40%, which is


significantly below the global average implementation rate. This result confirms the need for


providing these countries with special technical assistance and capacity building support to help


them bridge the existing implementation gap that exists between them and other developing


countries in the realm of trade facilitation and paperless trade.


 While implementation levels vary greatly across countries for all categories of trade facilitation


measures, all countries are engaged in implementation of various measures aimed at enhancing




vii


the transparency of trade procedures as well as in reducing the formalities associated with


them. Least implemented transparency measures include: (1) Advance ruling and (2) Advance


publication/notification of new regulation before implementation. Least implemented


formalities measures include (1) Establishment and publication of average release times and (2)


Trade facilitation measures for authorized operators.


 The global average level of implementation of “paperless trade” measures stands close to 50%.


Internet connections are fully available to customs and other trade control agencies in more


than half of the economies surveyed and at least partially available in almost all of them.


Similarly, electronic/automated customs systems have been implemented by more than 90% of


the countries. However, implementation of more advanced paperless trade measures remains


at a relatively early stage. For example, while nearly 60% of the economies have engaged to


some extent in creating an electronic single window for processing trade documents, very few


have fully-operational systems in place.


 The global average implementation level of “Cross-border paperless trade” (26.8%) is
substantially lower than that of the other groups of measures considered. While the average
implementation level of Laws and regulations for electronic transactions exceeds 56%, steps to
enable electronic exchange and recognition of regulatory documents across borders, such as
certificates of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary certificates have been taken in less than
15% of the economies considered in this Report.



Overall, the results suggest that most economies have understood the potential benefits of trade
facilitation and already taken concrete steps towards streamlining trade procedures. A significant
number of developing economies, particularly in East Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, have
actually reached or exceeded the minimum implementation rate associated with full compliance to the
WTO TFA commitments (a 55% implementation rate, based on the Survey structure).

The strong positive correlation found between trade facilitation implementation rates and trade costs
highlight the need for these countries to strive for trade facilitation excellence, in particular through
application of modern information and communication technologies to trade procedures. To maximize
benefit and return on investment, development of these paperless trade systems should enable
electronic exchange of data and documents not only between stakeholders domestically, but with all
the actors along the international supply chain. While these “next generation” trade facilitation
measures have just as much potential as more traditional measures to reduce trade costs and boost
intra- and extra-regional trade,4 capacity building and strengthened cooperation between countries at
the regional and global level will certainly be needed to implement them.

The global report should be read in conjunction with the regional reports, as well as the associated
country notes, which can be found at: http://unnext.unescap.org/UNTFSurvey2015.asp





4
Full implementation of cross-border paperless trade is expected to generate USD 257 billion of additional export potential


annually for the Asia-Pacific region alone. See: http://www.unescap.org/resources/estimating-benefits-cross-border-paperless-
trade





1


1. Introduction


1.1 Background and objective




Reducing trade costs is essential for developing economies to participate in international


production networks and effectively use trade and as an engine of growth and sustainable development.


However, trade costs within and between most developing regions remain much higher than those that


prevail between developed countries. For example, according to the latest available data from the


ESCAP-World Bank Trade Cost database, average intra-EU-3 international trade costs amount to a 43%


average tariff on the value of goods traded, while trade costs between EU-3 and the USA stands at 67%


(see Table 1). In contrast, trade costs among the middle-income members of the Association of


Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), who have actively pursued trade integration policies over the past 20


years and which will soon be part of the ASEAN Economic Community, still stand at 76%. Other


developing regions face much higher trade costs, typically two or three times higher than those in


developed countries.


Table 1: Intra- and extra-regional comprehensive trade costs
(excluding tariff costs)




Region ASEAN-4
South
Asia-4


Latin
America-4


North
Africa-3


Sub-Saharan
Africa-3


West
Asia-3


European
Union-3


ASEAN-4 76%










South Asia -4 128% 114%







Latin America-4 156% 189% 97%


North Africa-3 189% 156% 175% 126%




Sub-Saharan
Africa-3


201% 198% 273% 183% 182%


West Asia-3 162% 165% 218% 121% 197% 78%


European Union-3 108% 114% 114% 99% 125% 139% 43%


USA 85% 109% 80% 120% 133% 123% 67%


Source: ESCAP-World Bank Trade Cost Database, updated June 2015 [online at] http://www.unescap.org/tid/artnet/trade-costs.asp.
Notes: Trade costs shown are simple averages of trade costs over the period 2008-2013. They may be interpreted as tariff equivalents.


ASEAN-4: Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand; East Asia-3: China, Japan, Republic of Korea; EU-3: Germany, France, United


Kingdom; South Asia-4: Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka; Latin America-4: Brazil, Chile, Mexico, Uruguay; Sub-Saharan Africa-3:


Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana; North Africa-3: Morocco, Egypt, Sudan; West Asia-3: Jordan, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia.






Recent studies suggest that much of the trade cost reductions achieved over the past decade


have been through the elimination or lowering of tariffs.5 Further trade cost reduction, therefore, will be


accomplished by tackling non-tariff sources of trade costs - such as inefficient transport and logistics


infrastructure and services - and also by addressing cumbersome regulatory procedures and



5
For example, see ESCAP (2011), Asia-Pacific Trade and Investment Report 2011, United Nations. Available at:


http://www.unescap.org/resources/asia-pacific-trade-and-investment-report-2011-post-crisis-trade-and-investment




2


documentation requirements. Indeed, trade facilitation (the simplification and harmonization of import,


export and transit procedures) including paperless trade (the use and exchange of electronic data and


documents to support the trade transaction process), has taken increasing importance as evidenced by


the successful conclusion of the negotiations on a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in December 2013.


This is further enhanced by the progress made by ESCAP in developing a complementary regional


arrangement for the facilitation of cross-border paperless trade since 2012.


Inspired by the Joint UNRCs approach to Trade Facilitation and following extensive discussions at the


Global Trade Facilitation Forum 20136 on the lack of reliable and sufficiently detailed and regularly


updated data on the implementation of trade facilitation in general - and single window and paperless


trade in particular - it was decided that the Regional Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade


Implementation conducted by ESCAP since 20127 should be conducted jointly by all United Nations


Regional Commissions (UNRCs) at the global level and in cooperation with other interested international


organizations.8


This report is the outcome of this new global effort and features the results of the 2015 UNRCs Joint


Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation. It provides an overview of the current


state of trade facilitation implementation in 119 economies from 8 different regions worldwide.


Following an introduction to the survey instrument and methodology in Section 1.2, a region-wide


overview of implementation of trade facilitation measures across countries, sub-regions and in countries


with special needs is provided in Section 2. This is followed by a closer look at the implementation levels


of various groups of trade facilitation measures in Section 3. The report concludes by highlighting key


findings and offering a brief discussion on the way forward towards trade facilitation excellence and


seamless international supply chains in Section 4.9




1.2 Survey Instrument and Methodology




The survey instrument was prepared taking into account the final list of commitments included


in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) as well as the content of the draft text of the regional UN


treaty on cross-border paperless trade facilitation under negotiation at ESCAP. The survey covers 38


trade facilitation measures which can be categorized into four groups, namely: General trade facilitation


measures, Paperless trade, Cross-border paperless trade, and Transit facilitation.10 Questions on



6
The Global Trade Facilitation Forum was organized jointly by all the UN Regional Commissions (UNRCs) and took place in


Bangkok in November 2013. See http://www.unescap.org/events/global-trade-facilitation-conference-2013
7
These regional surveys have been conducted annually in conjunction with the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum organized


annually by ESCAP jointly with the Asian Development Bank (ADB). See: http://unnext.unescap.org/tfforum12-survey.asp.
8
The survey has been conducted in close collaboration with the OECD, ITC and UNCTAD as well as several sub-regional


organizations such as SELA in Latin America and the Caribbean and the OCO in the South Pacific.
9
Survey results for several regions and sub-regions, as well as groups of countries with special needs, are discussed in more


detail in region-specific reports which are available online at: http://unnext.unescap.org/UNTFsurvey2015.asp. The dataset as
well as some individual country reports are also available.
10


The survey questionnaire is available in full at: http://unnext.unescap.org/tfforum14-survey.asp




3


measures featured in the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs) were developed in close collaboration


with the OECD to ensure that results could be used to update TFIs and extend country coverage.11


As can be seen from Table 2, the General trade facilitation measures – as well as the Transit


facilitation measures - are essentially measures featured in the WTO TFA. In contrast, most Paperless


trade measures and, in particular, Cross-border paperless trade measures are not specifically included in


the WTO TFA although their implementation in many cases would support the better implementation of


many of the general trade facilitation measures.12 To ensure comparability of implementation levels


across countries, two of the measures classified under institutional arrangement and cooperation (Nos.


33, 34), one measure under paperless trade (No. 20), and one measure under transit facilitation (No. 35)


are excluded from the analysis.


The UNRCs adopted slightly different approaches for data collection and validation. The three-


step approach created by ESCAP was applied by individual UNRCs to meet specific regional contexts (see


Box 1).13 Nearly all data was collected between October 2014 and June 2015. Based on the data


collected, each of the trade facilitation measures included in the Survey for which sufficient and reliable


information was available was rated either as “fully implemented”, “partially implemented”, “on a pilot


basis”, or “not implemented”. Definitions of the four levels of implementation are provided in Annex 1.


In a few cases, where respondents did not have sufficient knowledge regarding the implementation of a


particular measure and information could not otherwise be obtained using desk research,


implementation of a measure was labeled as “don’t know”. A score (weight) of 3, 2, 1 and 0 was


assigned to each of the 4 implementation stages in order to calculate implementation scores for


individual measures across countries, regions or categories.14



11


The OECD TFIs currently cover 133 countries and are available online at
http://www.oecd.org/trade/facilitation/indicators.htm
12


i.e., implementation beyond the minimum level needed for full compliance with the WTO TFA.
13


Please refer to regional reports prepared by individual UNRCs for details [online at]
http://unnext.unescap.org/UNTFsurvey2015.asp.
14


For the purpose of calculating comparable implementation scores across economies and regions, “don’t know” ratings were
assigned a score (weight) of 0 since such ratings typically meant that there was no hard evidence to show a measure had been
implemented.




4




For the purpose of analysis and presentation of the results, general trade facilitation measures


have been further divided into three sub-groups, namely: transparency, formalities, and institutional


arrangement and cooperation, as shown in Table 2. The 119 countries covered in this report are divided


into one group entitled “Developed Economies” and seven groups of developing regions, as follows:15


 Developed Economies: Australia, Austria, Belgium, Bulgaria, Croatia, Finland, France, Germany,


Greece, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, and


Switzerland


 Sub-Saharan Africa: Benin, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Comoros, Congo, Côte d'Ivoire,


Gambia, Ghana, Kenya, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia,


Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sudan, Tanzania, Togo, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.


 Middle East and North Africa: Bahrain, Djibouti, Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Libya, Morocco,


Palestine, Qatar, United Arab Emirates, and Yemen.


 Latin America and the Caribbean: Barbados, Bolivia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador,


El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Dominican


Republic, Suriname, Trinidad and Tobago, and Uruguay.



15


UNRCs have overlapping membership and group countries differently based on their respective membership. In this global
report, developing economies are grouped according to World Bank regions (http://data.worldbank.org/about/country-and-
lending-groups). Please refer to Regional reports produced by each UNRC for analysis based on their respective country
classification practices. The composition of the three groups of countries with special needs discussed in this report is provided
in Annex 2.


Box 1. A three-step approach for data collection and validation


Step 1. Data submission by experts: The survey instrument was sent by the ESCAP Secretariat to


selected trade facilitation experts (e.g., government, private sector and/or academia) to gather


preliminary information. The questionnaire was also made publicly available online and disseminated


with the support of OECD, ITC, UNCTAD, IRU as well as the United Nations Network of Experts for


Paperless Trade and Transport for Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT). In some cases, the questionnaire was


also sent to relevant national trade facilitation authorities or agencies and regional trade facilitation


partners or organizations.


Step 2. Data verification by the ESCAP secretariat: The ESCAP Secretariat cross-checked the


data collected in Step 1. Desk research and data sharing among UNRCs and survey partners were carried


out to further check the accuracy of data. In person or telephone interviews with key respondents were


conducted to gather additional information when needed. The outcome of Step 2 was a consistent set of


responses per country.


Step 3. Data validation by national governments: The ESCAP Secretariat sent the completed


questionnaire to each national government to ensure that the country had the opportunity to review


the dataset and provide any additional information. The feedback from national governments was


incorporated to finalize the dataset.




5


 Europe and Central Asia: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Montenegro, Russian


Federation, Serbia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Ukraine, and Uzbekistan.


 South Asia: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.


 Pacific Islands: Fiji, Kiribati, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon


Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.


 East Asia: Brunei Darussalam, Cambodia, China, Indonesia, Lao PDR, Malaysia, Mongolia,


Myanmar, Philippines, Korea (Republic of), Singapore, Thailand, Timor-Leste, and Viet Nam.




Several limitations of this global Survey effort are worth noting as we proceed with reviewing


the results in the remainder of this report. First, while no efforts were spared by UNRCs to ensure the


accuracy of the data and the implementation ratings, this remains to a significant extent a qualitative


exercise with elements of subjectivity. Second, although the UNRCs harmonized and coordinated their


data collection efforts from beginning to end, there may remain some heterogeneity in the final


implementation ratings of measures across economies of different regions as each UNRC was ultimately


responsible for finalizing the data for its own region. Referring to the separate regional Survey reports


issued by each UNRC as part of this global effort may be useful in this context. Finally, it is worth


highlighting that, although the Global Report is based on data for well over 100 economies, the number


and variety of economies included in each developing region is sometimes limited due to a lack of data


for some economies. For example, the Latin America and the Caribbean region only included a few


Caribbean economies. As such, regional averages presented in the report should be interpreted and


compared with caution.16 The global averages may also be biased towards those of East Asia and the


Pacific Islands as these countries account for 37% of the sample (44 of 119 economies).







16


For reference, coverage of developing economies in each of the developing regions ranges from less than 50% (34% and 46%
for Europe and Central Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean, respectively) to 77 % for East Asia and the Pacific Islands; and
100% for South Asia.




6


Table 2: Grouping of trade facilitation measures included in the questionnaire

Trade facilitation measure (and question No.) in the questionnaire


G
e


n
e


ra
l T


F
m


e
as


u
re


s


Transparency


2. Publication of existing import-export regulations on the Internet
3. Stakeholder consultation on new draft regulations (prior to their finalization)
4. Advance publication/notification of new regulation before their implementation (e.g., 30 days
prior)
5. Advance ruling (on tariff classification)
9. Independent appeal mechanism (for traders to appeal Customs and other relevant trade
control agencies’ rulings)


Formalities




6. Risk management (as a basis for deciding whether a shipment will or will not be physically
inspected)
7. Pre-arrival processing
8. Post-clearance audit
10. Separation of Release from final determination of customs duties, taxes, fees and charges
11. Establishment and publication of average release times
12. Trade facilitation measures for authorized operators
13. Expedited shipments
14. Acceptance of paper or electronic copies of supporting documents required for import,
export or transit formalities.


Institutional
arrangement


and
cooperation


1. Establishment of a national trade facilitation committee or similar body
31. Cooperation between agencies on the ground at the national level
32. Government agencies delegating controls to Customs authorities
33. Alignment of working days and hours with neighbouring countries at border crossings
34. Alignment of formalities and procedures with neighbouring countries at border crossings


Paperless trade


15. Electronic/Automated Customs System established (e.g., ASYCUDA)
16. Internet connection available to Customs and other trade control agencies at border-
crossings
17. Electronic Single Window System
18. Electronic submission of Customs declarations
19. Electronic Application and Issuance of Trade Licenses
20. Electronic Submission of Sea Cargo Manifests
21. Electronic Submission of Air Cargo Manifests
22. Electronic Application and Issuance of Preferential Certificate of Origin
23. E-Payment of Customs Duties and Fees
24. Electronic Application for Customs Refunds


Cross-border
paperless trade




25. Laws and regulations for electronic transactions are in place (e.g. e-commerce law, e-
transaction law)
26. Recognized certification authority issuing digital certificates to traders to conduct electronic
transactions
27. Engagement of the country in trade-related cross-border electronic data exchange with
other countries
28. Certificate of Origin electronically exchanged between your country and other countries
29. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Certificate electronically exchanged between your country and
other countries
30. Banks and insurers in your country retrieving letters of credit electronically without lodging
paper-based documents


Transit facilitation


35. Transit facilitation agreement(s) with neighbouring country(ies)
36. Customs Authorities limit the physical inspections of transit goods and use risk assessment
37. Supporting pre-arrival processing for transit facilitation
38. Cooperation between agencies of countries involved in transit





7


2. Trade facilitation implementation: Overview


Figure 1 shows the rates of implementation of trade facilitation in the seven Developing regions


defined earlier, as well as in Developed Economies. These implementation rates are based on a set of 31


trade facilitation measures relevant to all 119 economies included in this analysis and spanning all five


categories of measures from Transparency measures to Cross-border paperless trade measures.17


The global average implementation rate stands at 52.9%. Developed Economies have the


highest implementation rate (75.4%), while Pacific Islands have the lowest (26.6%). Among the


Developing regions, Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia achieve high implementation rates at


64.1% and 58.8%, respectively. Sub-Saharan Africa - which includes some of the poorest countries in the


World – and Europe and Central Asia - which is largely made up of landlocked developing countries


(LLDCs) – have similar implementation rates. Notably, both these regions have achieved implementation


rates above 40%, unlike South Asia.


Figure 1: Implementation of trade facilitation around the World




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015



17


Among the 38 trade facilitation measures surveyed, three measures including Electronic Submission of Sea Cargo Manifests
(No. 20), Alignment of working days and hours with neighbouring countries at border crossings (No. 33), and Alignment of
formalities and procedures with neighbouring countries at border crossings (No. 24) are excluded in calculating the overall
score as they are not applicable to all countries surveyed. Similarly, four transit facilitation measures are also excluded. Each
country’s implementation score of is simply a summation of implementation scores (3, 2, 1 or 0) assigned to each trade
facilitation measure. The maximum possible (full) score of a country is 93 and the average score across all 119 countries is 49.2
(or 52.9% in percentage terms).




8


Trade facilitation implementation rates of individual economies are provided in Annex 3.


Implementation varies greatly across economies, including across economies from a same region (see


Figure 2). For example, implementation rates in East Asia range between 21.5% for Timor-Leste to 90.3%


for Singapore. Similarly, in Latin America and the Caribbean, there is an ample range of implementation


levels. Among South American countries, Bolivia (a landlocked nation) exhibits implementation levels of


31% while Colombia has an 82% overall implementation score.


In terms of specific countries, the Netherlands stands out as the best overall performer. In terms


of developing regions, Singapore and Republic of Korea lead East Asia, United Arab Emirates leads the


Middle East and North Africa region, and Benin and Mauritius lead the Sub-Saharan Africa region. India


leads the way in South Asia while Russia and Turkey lead the Europe and Central Asia region. Several


leaders emerge in Latin America and the Caribbean including Mexico, Colombia, Ecuador and Chile.


In general, more advanced economies achieve higher implementation rates than smaller or less


developed countries. However, this is not always the case. Qatar, for example, despite having the


highest GDP per capita in the sample, has an average implementation rate of only 66.8%. On the other


hand, more than 50 countries that have a GDP per capita lower than $10,000 (e.g., Ecuador and


Paraguay) achieve implementation rates higher than 50% (see Figure 2). In fact, Ecuador has an overall


implementation rate of 81%.


Figure 2: Trade facilitation implementation and GDP per capita




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015; World Bank World Development Indicators, accessed 30 July 2015.







9


2.1 Implementation in countries with special needs




Figure 3 presents an overview of trade facilitation implementation in the three groups of


countries with special needs - namely, Landlocked Developing Countries (LLDCs), Least Developed


Countries (LDCs) and Small Island Developing States (SIDS) - compared with trade facilitation


implementation in Developed economies and Developing regions. The red bars indicate the average


level of implementation of each group of countries while the diamonds reflect trade facilitation


implementation rates of individual economies within each group.


All three groups of countries with special needs achieve similar implementation rates of nearly


40%. This is significantly below the global average implementation rate (52%). This result confirms the


need for providing LDCs, LLDCs, and SIDSs with special technical assistance and capacity building support


to help them bridge the existing implementation gap that exists between them and other developing


countries in the realm of trade facilitation and paperless trade.




Figure 3: Trade facilitation implementation in regions and countries with special needs



Trade Facilitation Implementation of individual economies (%)


Average Trade Facilitation Implementation of the group (%)


Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.







10


2.2 Most and least implemented trade facilitation measures




All countries are engaged in implementation of various measures aimed at enhancing the


transparency of trade procedures as well as in reducing the formalities associated with them. While


implementation levels vary greatly across countries for all categories of trade facilitation measures,


differences in overall implementation scores are exacerbated by wide differences in the levels of


implementation of paperless trade measures and, in particular, cross-border paperless trade.


Overall, as shown in Figure 4 and Table 3, transparency measures, including measures such as


Publication of existing import-export regulations on the Internet and Independent Appeal Mechanism,


have the highest implementation rates (average 67.8%) followed by transit facilitation measures


(65.6%). Similarly, measures aimed at improving formalities have been well implemented with the global


average implementation rate standing at above 60%. Post-clearance audit (75.1%) and Risk


Management (70.0%) are the most highly implemented measures within this group while there is room


for improvement in implementing measures on Establishment and publication of average release times


and Trade facilitation measures for authorized operators.


The implementation rate for “institutional arrangement and cooperation” reached 54.1%.


Approximately 84% of the countries have implemented measures on Cooperation between agencies on


the ground at the national level and approximately 67% of countries surveyed have Established national


trade facilitation committees.


The global average level of implementation of “paperless trade” measures is nearly 50%.


However, implementation varies greatly depending on the individual measure considered. For example,


while Internet connections available to Customs and other trade control agencies at border-crossings


and Electronic/automated Customs System are partially or fully implemented in nearly all countries,


Electronic Application for Customs Refunds and Electronic Application and Issuance of Preferential


Certificate of Origin have been implemented in only 26% and 32% of the countries surveyed,


respectively.


The average implementation level for “Cross-border paperless trade” (26.8%) is substantially


lower than that of the other groups of measures considered. While Laws and regulations for electronic


transactions achieve an average implementation level of 56.6%, more efforts should be made in order to


permit Electronic exchange of sanitary and phytosanitary certificates (implementation rate amounts to a


mere 9.2%). Similarly, Banks and insurers to retrieve letters of credit electronically without lodging


paper-based documents has only been scarcely implemented (implementation rate amounts to only


11.2%).





11




Figure 4: Implementation of different groups of trade facilitation measures



Note: Blue dots show global average implementation levels of individual measures within each group.


Average regional implementation levels by groups of measures.
Source: ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.




Table 3: Most and least implemented measures (within each group
of trade facilitation measures)


Most implemented Least implemented


Transparency
1. Publication of existing import-export
regulations on the internet
2. Independent appeal mechanism


1. Advance ruling (on tariff classification)
2. Advance publication/notification of new regulation before
their implementation


Formalities
1. Post-clearance audit
2. Risk management


1. Establishment and publication of average release times
2. Trade facilitation measures for authorized operators


Institutional
arrangement


and cooperation


1. Cooperation between agencies on the ground
at the national level
2. Establishment of National TF Committee


1. Government agencies delegating controls to Customs
authorities


Paperless trade


1. Electronic/automated Customs System
2. Internet connection available to Customs and
other trade control agencies at border-crossings


1. Electronic Application for Customs Refunds
2. Electronic Application and Issuance of Preferential
Certificate of Origin


Cross-border
paperless trade


1. Laws and regulations for electronic
transactions
2. Recognized certification authority


1.Electronic Sanitary & Phytosanitary Certificate
2. Banks and insurers retrieving letters of credit
electronically without lodging paper-based documents


Transit
facilitation


1. Cooperation between agencies of countries
involved in transit
2. Customs authorities limit the physical
inspections of transit goods and use risk
assessment


1. Supporting pre-arrival processing for transit facilitation


Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.





12


3. Implementation of trade facilitation measures: A closer look


3.1 “Transparency” measures




Five trade facilitation measures included in the survey can be categorized as transparency


measures. These measures are based on Articles 1 through 4 of the WTO TFA as well as GATT Article X


entitled ”Publication and Administration of Trade Regulations.” The global average level of


implementation of all five transparency measures exceeds 50% (See Figure 5). However, there is


considerable variation in the implementation levels of these measures across regions.




Figure 5: Implementation of “transparency” measures




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015


While Developed Economies, East Asia and Latin America and the Caribbean have nearly fully


implemented these measures, Sub-Saharan Africa and the Pacific Islands lag well behind the global


average. The level of implementation of advance ruling (on tariff classification) by the Pacific Islands is


low in comparison to the levels of implementation of other transparency measures in the same region.




13


Figure 6 shows the percentage of countries globally that have fully and partially implemented


the transparency measures included in the Survey. Publication of existing import-export regulations on


the Internet is the most implemented transparency measure and has been fully or partially


implemented by more than 90% of the countries and is in the pilot stage in 5% of the economies


surveyed. Similarly, Independent Appeal Mechanism and Stakeholder consultation on new draft


regulations have been implemented in more than 80% of the countries surveyed and are in the pilot


stage in a small number of countries.


Advance publication/notification of new regulations before their implementation and advance


ruling (on tariff classification) are the least implemented measures. Indeed, approximately 65% of the


countries surveyed have fully or partially implemented such measures. This may be due either to


legislative issues or the permanence of old trade practices. This is more evident in Portugal, a developed


economy which has not yet undertaken any move towards the implementation of such measures.




Figure 6: State of implementation of “transparency” measures (in %)


Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.





14


3.2 “Formalities” measures




Eight of the general trade facilitation measures included in the survey are categorized as


formalities measures aimed at streamlining and/or expediting regulatory trade procedures. They relate


to Articles 6, 7, 9 and 10 of the WTO TFA and GATT Article VIII entitled “Fees and Formalities connected


with Importation and Exportation.”


The level of implementation at the regional level varies significantly across measures in this


group (see Figure 7). Implementation of Risk management, Post-clearance audit, and pre-arrival


processing measures is well underway in most regions. In contrast, implementation of measures such as


Trade facilitation measures for authorized operators and Establishment and publication of average


release times has remained marginal in several regions, in particular in the Pacific Islands and South Asia


is well below 10%.


Figure 7: Implementation of trade “formalities” facilitation measures




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.





15


Figure 8 shows that the implementation of Risk management, Pre arrival processing, Post-


clearance audit, Acceptance of copies, and Separation of release from clearance measures is on-going in


most economies globally. The most progress has been made in the establishment of post-clearance


audit mechanisms; the least progress has been made in pre-arrival processing matters. Approximately


80% of the countries have fully or partially implemented all five measures.


Other formalities measures are significantly less implemented. For example, less than 60% of


countries have at least partially implemented trade facilitation measures for authorized operators. The


Survey also reveals that establishment and publication of average release times has been fully


implemented in less than 15% of the economies.


Figure 8: State of implementation of trade “formalities” facilitation measures (in %)



Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.







16


3.3 “Institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures




Three trade facilitation measures featured in the survey are grouped under Institutional and


cooperation measures. These relate to long-standing recommendations that a national trade facilitation


body and related measures be implemented to ensure coordination and cooperation among the various


government agencies and other stakeholders involved in facilitating trade.18 These measures are based


on Articles 8 and 23 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.


Figure 9: Implementation of “institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures



Source: ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


Figure 9 shows that measures related to National Trade Facilitation Committees and cooperation


between agencies on the ground at the national level have been extensively implemented globally,


while government agencies delegating controls to customs authorities seems to be much more common


in developed economies than in any of the developing regions. National Trade Facilitation Committees


are most implemented in South Asia than in any other region considered in the Survey.



18


See, for example, UN/CEFACT Recommendation No. 4 on establishment of national trade facilitation bodies, first issued in
1974. Available at: http://www.unece.org/fileadmin/DAM/cefact/recommendations/rec04/rec04_ecetrd242e.pdf




17


Figure 10 reveals that, while most of the countries surveyed have implemented measures related to


cooperation between agencies on the ground at the national level to some extent, full implementation


has only been achieved in less than 30% of the economies. In a similar trend, National Trade Facilitation


Committees are established and functional in approximately 30% of the countries surveyed.


Government agencies delegating controls to Customs authorities is the least implemented of the


institutional arrangement and cooperation measures with only a minority of economies having initiated


implementation.




Figure 10: State of implementation of “institutional arrangement and cooperation” measures for
trade facilitation (in %)



Source: ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.




3.4 “Paperless trade” measures




The paperless trade measures examined in the survey relate to the use and application of


modern information and communications technologies (ICT) to trade formalities ranging from


availability of internet connections at border-crossings and customs automation to full-fledged


electronic single window facilities. Many of the measures featured here are closely related to Articles 7


and 10 of the WTO TFA - as well as the draft text of the intergovernmental agreement on facilitation of


cross-border paperless trade under negotiation among ESCAP member states.




Implementation of paperless trade measures vary widely across measures as well as across


regions (see Figure 11). Electronic/automated customs systems and electronic submission of customs




18


declarations are widely implemented in all regions except in the Pacific Islands region which also lags


significantly behind in its implementation of other paperless trade measures. Implementation of more


advanced measures such as Electronic Single Window Systems and e-payment of customs duties is


particularly high in Latin America and East Asia relative to other developing regions.




Figure 11: Implementation of “paperless trade” measures



Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


Figure 12 highlights the gap between the most and least implemented paperless trade
measures. Internet connections are fully available to customs and other trade control agencies in more
than half of the economies surveyed and at least partially available in almost all of them. Similarly,
electronic/automated customs systems have been implemented by more than 90% of the countries and
fully implemented in more than 60%. Together, these results suggest that most economies are actively
working on developing the basic IT infrastructure and services needed for paperless trade.




19


Figure 12: State of implementation of “paperless trade” measures (in %)




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


However, implementation of more advanced paperless trade measures remains at a relatively


early stage. Nearly 60% of the economies have engaged to some extent in creating an electronic single


window but very few have fully-operational systems in place. Electronic application and issuance of


preferential certificates of origin has been fully or partially implemented by only approximately 30% of


the economies. Electronic application for Customs refunds has been fully implemented by less than 10%


of the countries surveyed.




3.5 “Cross-border paperless trade” measures




Six trade facilitation measures included in the survey are categorized as cross-border paperless


trade measures (see Figure 13).19 Two of the measures, laws and regulations for electronic transactions


and recognized certification authority, are basic building blocks towards enabling the exchange and legal


recognition of trade-related data and documents among stakeholders within a country and also along


the entire international supply chain. The other four measures relate to the implementation of systems


enabling the actual exchange of electronic trade-related data and documents across borders to remove


the need for sending paper documents.



19


As noted previously, these measures are different from other paperless trade measures as they focus on electronic exchange
of data and documents across borders, i.e., between stakeholders located in different countries – as opposed to, e.g., national
single window systems, where the focus is on exchange of information between domestic stakeholders.




20


Figure 13: Implementation of “cross-border paperless trade” measures




Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.




Figure 13 shows the average implementation scores for cross-border paperless trade measures


across regions. The implementation gap between developing regions and developed economies are very


wide for most measures in this category. Whilst relatively good progress has been made globally on


establishing laws and regulations for electronic transactions, the average implementation of all other


measures is very low in all developing regions. Latin America and the Caribbean appears to be ahead of


other developing regions in overall engagement in trade-related cross-border electronic data exchange.


However, East Asia seems to lead the developing regions in terms of electronic exchange of regulatory


documents such as sanitary and phytosanitary certificates and certificates of origin due to various


bilateral and/or regional initiatives such as the ASEAN Single Window.20


Figure 14 shows that about 65% of the countries surveyed have taken steps to develop the legal


and regulatory frameworks needed to support electronic transactions. However, such frameworks have


not yet been fully developed in more than half of these economies and may therefore not be conducive


to legal recognition of electronic data and documents across borders. In turn, recognized certification


authorities, which are needed for issuing electronic signatures, have been established in only about 40%


of the economies. This partly explains why less than 50% of surveyed economies have engaged in trade-



20


See UNNExT Brief No. 13 on the ASEAN Single Window. Available at: http://unnext.unescap.org/pub/brief13.pdf.




21


related cross-border electronic data exchange and, when doing so, it is essentially on a limited basis


with a few trusted trade partners.


Figure 14: State of implementation of “cross-border paperless trade” measures (in %)


Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


The state of implementation of three advanced cross-border paperless trade measures - namely,


electronic exchange of certificates of origin, bank and insurers retrieving letters of credit electronically


without lodging paper-based documents, and electronic exchange of sanitary and phytosanitary


certificates - is very low. These measures have been fully implemented in less than 5% of economies


and are available only on a limited basis in approximately 10% of the economies.


It is worth noting that the states of implementation of these measures are often less clear than


that of other measures given that many public and private sector officials may not be aware of their


existence. For example, for 18% of the 119 economies included in this analysis, the Survey team could


not clearly determine the implementation status of measures related to retrieving letters of credit


electronically without lodging paper-based documents. Moreover, in approximately 10% of the


economies surveyed it was difficult to determine the implementation status of cross-border electronic


exchange of certificates of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary certificates. Given the significant


benefits associated with these “new generation” trade facilitation measures,21 it is important to collect


better data on their implementation and to increase awareness amongst stakeholders.





21


ESCAP (2015) estimates that “cross-border paperless trade” could reduce direct costs of exports by an average of at least 17%
in Asia-Pacific.




22


3.6 “Transit facilitation” measures




Three trade facilitation measures included in the survey relate specifically to transit facilitation


and WTO TFA Article 11 on Freedom of Transit.22 The intent of these measures is to reduce as much as


possible all the formalities associated with traffic in transit in order to allow goods from one country


destined to another country to be seamlessly transported through one or more other transit countries.


These measures are particularly important to landlocked developing countries whose goods typically


need to go through a neighboring country’s territory before reaching their final destination.


Figure 15: Implementation of “transit facilitation” measures:


Source: UNRCs TF Survey 2015


As shown in Figure 15, the global implementation level of all transit measures exceeds 60%. The


average implementation score of developed economies is very high relative to those of developing


regions particularly with respect to cooperation between agencies of countries involved in transit. South


Asia is the region with the lowest scores -- most notably, regarding measures supporting pre-arrival


processing for transit facilitation which only yield a 40% implementation rate.



22


These measures are not directly applicable to all countries as some countries are unlikely to see any traffic in transit in their
territory. This is particularly the case of island countries as well as other countries that face certain geographical constraints. As
such, in addition to all economies of the Pacific Islands region, the following economies are excluded from analysis of transit
measures: Australia, Bhutan, Comoros, Japan, Madagascar, Maldives, Mauritius, Nepal, New Zealand, Philippines, Republic of
Korea, Sri Lanka, and Timor Leste.




23


Figure 16: State of implementation of “transit facilitation” measures (in %)


Source: ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


Figure 16 reveals that, despite the fact that all transit facilitation measures considered here have


been implemented to some extent by over 75% of the economies, implementation is mostly partial. For


example, only 39% of economies have fully achieved cooperation between agencies of countries


involved in transit and less than half of customs authorities have fully implemented limited physical


inspections of transit goods and use of risk assessment.







24


4. Conclusions and Way Forward


This report presented data on trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation collected by


United Regional Commissions from 119 economies around the world. The Survey covered not only


implementation of general trade facilitation measures, including many of those featured in the WTO


TFA, but also more advanced ICT-based trade facilitation measures aimed at making data and the


information needed to support trade transactions flow seamlessly among stakeholders within a country,


as well as across borders. As revealed by Survey results, there is a strong relationship between


international trade costs and country levels of implementation of these measures (see Figure 17).23


There is also a strong positive correlation between logistics performance of individual economies and


their overall trade facilitation implementation scores (see Figure 18).


Figure 17: Trade facilitation implementation and Trade Costs




Notes: Countries’ trade costs are based on average comprehensive bilateral trade costs with Germany, Japan and


the USA (2008-13) and expressed as ad valorem equivalents (%).


Source: ESCAP-World Bank International Trade Cost Database and ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.







23


A simple linear regression of trade costs against trade facilitation implementation – estimated using Ordinary
Least Squares (OLS) - shows that trade facilitation implementation levels explain about 47% of the variations in
trade costs.




25


Figure 18: Trade facilitation implementation and Logistics Performance




Source: World Bank Logistics Performance Index 2014 and ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.


More than 30 trade facilitation measures were included and analyzed in the survey. Collectively,


the global average trade facilitation implementation score stands slightly above 50%. A significant


number of countries worldwide have implemented general trade facilitation measures. These measures,


which aim at improving transparency, expediting and streamlining formalities, and developing adequate


institutional frameworks, reflect commitments found in the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.24


Moreover, paperless trade measures have also been at least partially implemented in most economies.


Within this purview, national electronic single windows are at least in the pilot stage in nearly 60% of


participating countries. In contrast, the implementation rate of cross-border paperless trade measures


remains very low across countries and regions surveyed. This result suggests that many countries need


capacity building before electronic data and documents can flow seamlessly between stakeholders


located in different countries along the supply chain.


In that regard, Figure 19 shows implementation of trade facilitation as a step-by step process,


based on the groups of measures included in this survey. Trade facilitation begins by developing an


adequate institutional arrangement in order to prioritize and coordinate implementation of trade


facilitation measures. The next step is to make the trade processes more transparent by sharing


information on existing laws, regulations, and procedures as well as consulting with stakeholders when



24


For reference, 17 of the 31 measures discussed in this report can be directly related to WTO TFA commitments (both binding
and non-binding). This implies that the minimum implementation rate that an economy would need to achieve to be fully
compliant with WTO TFA stands at about 55% (17/31 = 54.8%). See also Annex 4 – State of implementation of WTO TFA-related
measures.


1


2


3


4


5


0% 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%


Lo
gi


st
ic


s
P


e
rf


o
rm


an
ce


In
d


e
x



(1


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=
to


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rf


o
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Trade Facilitation Implementation (%)




26


developing new ones. Designing and implementing simpler and more efficient trade formalities is next.


Newly streamlined processes may initially be implemented utilizing paper documents but can later be


further improved through ICT and the use of paperless trade systems. The ultimate step is to enable the


electronic trade data and documents exchange by traders, government and service providers within


national (single window and other) systems to be used and re-used to provide stakeholders in partner


countries with the information they need to speed up the movement of goods and reduce the overall


costs of trade.25



Figure 19: Moving up the trade facilitation ladder towards seamless international supply chains



Note: Figure shows cumulative trade facilitation implementation scores of Asia-Pacific sub-regions for five groups
of trade facilitation measures included in the survey. Scores are based on equally weighted implementation of 31
trade facilitation measures but the number of measures in each of the five groups varies. Full implementation of all
measures = 100.
Source: ESCAP, UNRCs TF Survey 2015.



25


This step-by-step process is based on, and generally consistent with, the UN/CEFACT step-by-step approach to trade
facilitation towards a single window environment. In practice, however, trade facilitation measures are often very much
interrelated across categories. It is not necessary to implement all measures in one category before moving to the next and, as
explained in UNNExT Brief No.17 on The State of Paperless Trade in Asia-Pacific 2015, much time and cost can be saved by
adopting a more integrated approach based on a long-term vision. See: http://unnext.unescap.org/pub/brief.asp.




27


The cumulative trade facilitation implementation levels shown in Figure 19 suggest that, while


Latin America and the Caribbean and East Asia are performing well above the global average, all regions


still have significant room to make progress in all areas of trade facilitation, starting with institutional


arrangements and further enhancing inter-agency cooperation.


In an effort to make the Survey effort as transparent and useful as possible, regional and global


datasets have been made freely accessible online on the dedicated Survey website.26 The use of the data


by researchers and policy analysts to advance our understanding of the impact of different trade


facilitation measures and derive evidence-based policy advice is strongly encouraged. Stakeholders


interested in submitting information which may help us further improve or expand the dataset may


contact the UNRC focal points listed on the dedicated website. Subject to availability of resources, the


UNRCs, together with other willing partners, will endeavor to conduct the Survey on a biennial basis.




--------------------



26


http://unnext.unescap.org/UNTFSurvey2015.asp




28


Annex 1: Definitions of the different stages of implementation




Stages of implementation Coding/


Scoring


Full implementation: the trade facilitation measure implemented is in full compliance with
commonly accepted international standards, recommendations and conventions (such as the
Revised Kyoto Convention, UN/CEFACT Recommendations, or the WTO Trade Facilitation
Agreement); it is implemented in law and in practice; it is available to essentially all relevant
stakeholders nationwide, supported by adequate legal and institutional framework, as well as
adequate infrastructure and financial and human resources.


3


Partial implementation: a measure is considered to be partially implemented if at least one of the
following is true: (1) the trade facilitation measure is not in full compliance with commonly accepted
international standards, recommendations and conventions; (2) the country is still in the process of
rolling out the implementation of measure; (3) the measure is practiced on an unsustainable, short-
term or ad-hoc basis; (4) the measure is not implemented in all targeted locations (such as key
border crossing stations); or (5) not all targeted stakeholders are fully involved.


2


Pilot stage of implementation: a measure is considered to be at the pilot stage of implementation
if, in addition to meeting the general attributes of partial implementation, it is available only to (or
at) a very small portion of the intended stakeholder group (location) and/or is being implemented
on a trial basis. When a new trade facilitation measure is under pilot stage of implementation, the
old measure is often continuously used in parallel to ensure the service is provided in case of
disruption of new measure. This stage of implementation also includes relevant rehearsals and
preparation for the full-fledged implementation.


1


Not implemented: simply means a trade facilitation measure has not been implemented. However,
this stage does not rule out initiatives or efforts towards implementation of the measure. For
example, under this stage, (pre)feasibility or planning of implementation can be carried out; and
consultation with stakeholders on the implementation may be arranged.


0







29


Annex 2: Grouping of the countries with special needs




The following countries are included in the three groups of countries with special needs


considered in this survey report:27




 Least Developed Countries (LDCs): Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Benin, Burkina


Faso, Cambodia, Comoros, Gambia, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali,


Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, Niger, Senegal, Solomon Islands, Sudan, Tanzania,


Timor-Leste , Togo, Uganda, Tuvalu, and Vanuatu.




 Landlocked developing countries (LLDCs): Afghanistan, Armenia , Azerbaijan, Bhutan,


Bolivia, Botswana, Burkina Faso, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Malawi,


Mali, Mongolia, Nepal, Niger, Paraguay, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Uganda, and Zimbabwe.




 Small Island Developing States (SIDSs): Barbados, Comoros, Dominican Republic, Fiji,


Kiribati, Mauritius, Maldives, Micronesia, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa,


Singapore, Solomon Islands, Timor-Leste, Tonga, Trinidad and Tobago, Tuvalu and


Vanuatu.28




: i



27


More details are available at http://unohrlls.org/UserFiles/1_countries_with_special_needs.pdf.
28


It is important to note that Afghanistan, Bhutan and Lao PDR are both LDCs and LLDCs, while Kiribati, Solomon Islands, Timor-
Leste, Tuvalu and Vanuatu are both LDCs and SIDSs.





Annex 3: Trade Facilitation Implementation: Economy Scores


Developed economies





Sub-Saharan Africa









Middle East and North Africa





Latin America and the Caribbean












Europe and Central Asia




South Asia








Pacific Islands




East Asia










Annex 4: Global State of Implementation of Selected WTO TFA-related Measures


(Percentage of economies at different stages of implementation)

































































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