Chief Editor: Ansar Mahmood Bhatti

Better trade facilitation to reduce trade costs in Asia by up to 9pc annually: ADB

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ISLAMABAD, SEPT 05 (DNA) – Improved trade facilitation the simplification, modernisation, and harmonisation of export and import processes – can reduce trade costs by up to 9 per cent in Asia and the Pacific, according to a new joint report by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) launched Tuesday on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum in Yogyakarta.

The report, Trade Facilitation and Better Connectivity for an Inclusive Asia and Pacific, highlights the benefits of better trade facilitation in the region such as promoting customs improvements and cross-border cooperation among countries, with the implementation of the provisions under the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which entered into force in February of this year.

Partial implementation of the TFA, for instance, could reduce trade costs in the region by 5 per cent annually, while full implementation would yield a 9 per cent reduction in costs – or a $ 219 billion of savings every year.

“Trade facilitation increases trade flows and lowers trade costs, making it critical for development in Asia and the Pacific,” a statement received here quoted ADB’s Chief Economist Yasuyuki Sawada as saying.

“We’re hopeful that the findings of the report can further help our development partners in improving trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation in the region.”

The report features findings of a global survey on trade facilitation and paperless trade implementation, revealing various improvements across the region. The region marked improvements in general trade facilitation, paperless trade, and cross-border paperless trade, with the average implementation rate rising to 50.4 per cent in 2017 from 46.5 per cent in 2015. Sub-regionally, East Asia has the highest implementation rate at 73.7 per cent after Australia and New Zealand (85.0 per cent).