Joint identification and promotion of TF measures in times of crisis and epidemic
Trade facilitation in times of pandemic: practices and lessons from the Asia-Pacific region
The Coronavirus 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has hit international trade worldwide and in Asia and the Pacific, underscoring the importance of maintaining trade connectivity not only for the immediate pandemic response, but also for the subsequent recovery efforts in order to build resilience to future disruptions. The report first describes, in the section II, the initial developments and lessons learnt in trade and transport facilitation practices in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. Section III presents the results of a Survey on trade facilitation in times of crisis and pandemic in the Asia and the Pacific region. Finally, Section IV discusses the ways forward for trade facilitation measures to support a sustainable and resilient recovery from the COVID-19 crisis and how the Asia-Pacific region can be better equipped to build back better.
Trade facilitation in times of pandemic: practices from South and South West Asia
The paper indicates that the SSWA countries have achieved remarkable progress in trade facilitation, especially as the COVID-19 crisis progressed. Although the policy responses in the initial months of the outbreak appeared to be fragmented and lacked coherence, countries in SSWA have shown convergence toward simplification of trade procedures, and enhanced transport and logistics and digital trade facilitation. While these measures have helped the SSWA countries secure supply of essential goods and services, some have simultaneously enforced stringent protection measures which represent a risk. The responses to the COVID-19 crisis suggest a greater scope of regional cooperation in the subregion. Digitalizing the trade processes in SSWA, including by signing on to the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, would be the next step toward the needed paperless trade environment.