UN’s 2019 survey results on digital trade facilitation now available on interactive website

To help countries including the Philippines benchmark and reduce the time and cost of trading across border, the United Nations has put up on an interactive website the results of its latest global survey on digital and sustainable trade facilitation.

The 2019 UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation covers 128 economies around the globe, and 53 measures related to the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. The survey also covers emerging regional and global initiatives on paperless trade or e-trade, such as the recent Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (FA-CPT).

The survey, jointly conducted by the five UN regional commissions and their partners every two years, leads to the publication of a global report and five regional reports, including a regional report on the Asia-Pacific.

The initiative is aimed at “providing insightful information for policymakers to harness trade as a key means of implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development,” said the UN.

On the interactive website, available here, visitors can visualize and compare implementation of trade facilitation measures and paperless trade data across regions and economies in a number of ways.

They can, for instance, click “Visualize Global Results” for an overview of global survey results on chart or map, with the option to narrow down on specific regions.

They can also opt to click “Visualize Regional Results” to select a geographic region to view regional and subregional results. Or they may select an economy to visualize country results and get a detailed overview of trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation.

For the Philippines, it garnered an overall trade facilitation score of 80.65% in 2019, up from 69.89% in 2017. By category, cross-border paperless trade in 2019 was 55.56% (from 33.33% in 2017); paperless trade, 77.78% (from 70.37%); institutional arrangement and cooperation, 55.56% (unchanged); formalities, 100% (from 87.50), and transparency, 100% (from 93.33%).

Users may also compare a selection of economies to get an idea of their implementation levels, or compare measure implementation, in which they get an insight into most and least implemented measures within a selection of economies.

The site also provides a link for downloading the global report as well as the five regional reports. So far only the Asia-Pacific report, “Trade Facilitation in Asia and the Pacific: Regional Report 2019,” released this month, is available. Forthcoming regional reports are on Europe, Middle East & North Africa, Latin America & Caribbean, and Africa.

The 2019 UN survey results confirmed the leadership of several Asian developing countries in digital trade facilitation implementation, notably Republic of Korea and China in East Asia; Singapore, Malaysia and Thailand in Southeast Asia; Azerbaijan and the Russian Federation in North and Central Asia; and India in South Asia, said the UN in a statement.

All 46 Asia-Pacific countries in the survey made significant progress in making trade easier and more transparent over the past two years, with countries in North and Central Asia, in particular Kazakhstan, making the most progress. Cambodia was the best performing among the least developed countries included in the survey.

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