TRADE FACILITATION

Trade facilitation focuses on removing barriers to the international movement of goods and cargo to lower trade costs, at and around the border and along the supply chain, to make countries more competitive in regional and global markets. In the SASEC subregion, bottlenecks in trade facilitation are the leading non-tariff barriers that constrain intraregional trade. SASEC trade facilitation initiatives aim to make cross-border trade and transport in the subregion faster, cheaper, and more predictable, while maintaining the security of the supply chain and ensuring the effectiveness and efficiency of all involved players.

PUBLICATIONS

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Facilitate Trade for Development: Aid for Trade

The Aid for Trade program has been providing support to developing economies in tackling obstacles to growth through better facilitation of trade in the last 10 years. Since its launch in 2006, a total of $308 billion has been disbursed to finance aid-for-trade programs and projects, which are working to reduce trade and transport costs, promote trade expansion, and achieve economic and social objectives. As high trade costs persist in keeping developing countries from fully exploiting their trade and development potential, the Aid for Trade program remains highly relevant, and will help developing economies, including landlocked and small and vulnerable economies, achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: William Hynes and Frans Lammersen

Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism: Baseline Study in Bangladesh

This publication shares 20 case stories from the Asian Development Bank bearing practical lessons for transport projects across Asia and the Pacific region under different socioeconomic and political situations. The book includes reports on SASEC projects for improving aviation in Bhutan and updating transport and trade facilitation software in Nepal, and the role policy plays in those projects. It also draws lessons from how India's road development increased rural communities' access to public services and economic opportunities, and how participatory processes in selecting road improvement projects in Bangladesh provide a model for long-term plan for road maintenance.

Source: Asian Development Bank

World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Source: World Trade Organization

WORKING PAPER

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Connecting Bangladesh: Economic Corridor Network

Economic corridors anchored on transport connectivity could significantly boost Bangladesh's economic growth. This paper presents a new set of corridors for Bangladesh – a nine-corridor comprehensive integrated multimodal economic corridor network that will enhance Bangladesh’s role as land bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia, and between South Asia and northern Asia. These proposed corridors are designed to sustain robust economic growth over the long term by improving regional connectivity, transit, and integration, alongside trade facilitation measures.

Source: Mohuiddin Alamgir

CPD Working Paper 110 – Trade and Transport Facilitation in Bangladesh: An Audit of the State of Play

This publication provides a detailed picture of the status of specific measures for trade and transport facilitation in Bangladesh. It identifies measures already adopted, including strengthening of trade-related institutions, improvements in Customs processes and procedures, and reduction of non-trade barriers, highlighting areas for improvement and identifying existing gaps, to allow for proposals to meet these gaps. The audit undertaken aims to support policy-makers in Bangladesh in mobilizing the financial resources required to build a modern and efficient trade and transport facilitation system.

Source: Mustafizur Rahman, Khaleda Akhter and Naimul Gani Saif

Impact of Trade Facilitation on Foreign Direct Investment

This United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Trade and Investment Working Paper attempts to quantify the potential impact of trade facilitation on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. The study uses bilateral FDI data from 2006 onward from both developing and developed countries, including South-South FDI flows, wherein contiguity (common border between source and host country) and geographic distance are found to be much more important factors. In applying an augmented FDI model framework to determine the effect of comprehensive international trade costs, the results show that both non-tariff and tariff costs are important determinants of FDI inflows.

Source: Yann Duval and Chorthip Utoktham

REPORTS

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Development of East Coast Economic Corridor and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor

The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC)—India’s first coastal corridor—is an integrated economic development initiative that is expected to help pursue industrialization and integrate domestic companies into the global value chains of Southeast Asia and East Asia. Its development will start with Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), which covers about 800 kilometers and includes several ports and major industrial centers. This paper discusses strategies to consider when trying to improve shipping and air connectivity in the ECEC and Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC). It stresses the importance of infrastructure development and regulatory reforms that facilitate increased connectivity.

Source: Pritam Banerjee

Business Process Analysis of Import of Kitchen and Table Wares of Plastics (Melamine Products) from Bangladesh to Bhutan

This business process analysis report on the import of kitchen and table wares (melamine products) from Bangladesh to Bhutan through Burimari-Changrabandha-Jaigaon-Phuentsholing-Thimphu is the second report of a six-part study on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan. Study findings reveal it takes 16 days to import melamine products from Bangladesh, with costs amounting to around $719 for a truckload. 33 documents are needed to complete the 15 processes, with 12 documents requiring extra copies. Specific recommendations are given to improve trade in this commodity.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Business Process Analysis of Export of Cardamom from Bhutan to Bangladesh

This business process analysis report on the export of Cardamom from Bhutan to Bangladesh via Phuentsholing-Jaigaon-Changrabandha-Burimari is the fourth of a six-part study on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan. According to the study, it takes 29 days to complete all export procedures for new traders. The process is reduced to 26.5 days without the first time procedures. Total cost to export a typical truckload of two metric tons of cardamom is around $654, with one-time procedures amounting around $308. 24 documents are needed to complete the export process, with some documents requiring extra copies, numbering to as much as 71. Specific recommendations are given to improve trade in this commodity.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

PERIODICALS

showing 1
Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

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NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

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Commentary: Standards Need Continuous Updating

This commentary by Ms. Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer, Business Initiative Leading Development, highlights the need to improve standards regulation to increase Bangladesh's competitiveness in the export-based manufacturing industry. Recommendations include raising capacity of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute to meet global standards in food safety, and involving the private sector in standard setting consultations.

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Meet on Promoting Bilateral Trade

The Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Conference 2017 was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, to discuss possible ways to increase bilateral trade between Nepal and Bangladesh. The environment and the economic and business sectors were among the topics tackled at the conference.

 

PUBLICATIONS

showing 3 of 10   VIEW ALL
Facilitate Trade for Development: Aid for Trade

The Aid for Trade program has been providing support to developing economies in tackling obstacles to growth through better facilitation of trade in the last 10 years. Since its launch in 2006, a total of $308 billion has been disbursed to finance aid-for-trade programs and projects, which are working to reduce trade and transport costs, promote trade expansion, and achieve economic and social objectives. As high trade costs persist in keeping developing countries from fully exploiting their trade and development potential, the Aid for Trade program remains highly relevant, and will help developing economies, including landlocked and small and vulnerable economies, achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: William Hynes and Frans Lammersen

Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism: Baseline Study in Bangladesh

This publication shares 20 case stories from the Asian Development Bank bearing practical lessons for transport projects across Asia and the Pacific region under different socioeconomic and political situations. The book includes reports on SASEC projects for improving aviation in Bhutan and updating transport and trade facilitation software in Nepal, and the role policy plays in those projects. It also draws lessons from how India's road development increased rural communities' access to public services and economic opportunities, and how participatory processes in selecting road improvement projects in Bangladesh provide a model for long-term plan for road maintenance.

Source: Asian Development Bank

World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Source: World Trade Organization

WORKING PAPER

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Policies to Enhance Trade Facilitation in South Asia and Southeast Asia

This Asian Development Bank Institute publication identifies the state of play of trade facilitation and provides an overview of intra- and inter-regional trade in South and Southeast Asia. It highlights key challenges and bottlenecks to effective trade facilitation, ranging from the lack of expert human resources such as information technology specialists in small landlocked countries (Bhutan and Nepal), to the high border transaction costs and severe congestion faced at border crossing points, and the lack of effective dialogue on bilateral enhancement of trade facilitation. Regional initiatives such as the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program aim to address these challenges through customs modernization and harmonization, automation, and the use of international best practices in border procedures.

Source: Anthony Bayley

Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation

This paper reports survey findings on progress in implementing various trade facilitation and paperless trade measures made by 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including six SASEC member countries. Factors considered include pre-arrival clearance, post-clearance audit, National Single Window, and authorized operator programmes. The survey reveals that while countries have prioritized automation and paperless trade at the regional level, there is an urgent need for regional arrangements that will facilitate cross-border exchange of trade-related electronic documents and information to enable smoother trade facilitation.

Source: Tengfei Wang and Yann Duval

REPORTS

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Business Process Analysis of Import of Light Motor Vehicles from the Third Countries to Bhutan via Kolkata Port

This business process analysis report on the import of light motor vehicles (LMVs) from third countries to Bhutan via Kolkata Port is the first report of a series of a six-part study on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan. Study findings reveal it takes 28.5 days to import LMVs from the Republic of Korea, with costs amounting to around $1,289 to complete the import procedures, not including the applicable duty and taxes payable in Bhutan. 39 documents are needed to complete the import process, with 12 documents requiring extra copies. Specific recommendations are given to improve trade in this commodity.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Business Process Analysis of Import of Kitchen and Table Wares of Plastics (Melamine Products) from Bangladesh to Bhutan

This business process analysis report on the import of kitchen and table wares (melamine products) from Bangladesh to Bhutan through Burimari-Changrabandha-Jaigaon-Phuentsholing-Thimphu is the second report of a six-part study on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan. Study findings reveal it takes 16 days to import melamine products from Bangladesh, with costs amounting to around $719 for a truckload. 33 documents are needed to complete the 15 processes, with 12 documents requiring extra copies. Specific recommendations are given to improve trade in this commodity.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Business Process Analysis of Export of Ferro Silicon from Bhutan to the Third Countries

This business process analysis report on export of ferro silicon from Bhutan to countries outside South Asia (Europe or USA) is the third of a six-part study on Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism (TTFMM) in Bhutan. According to the study, it takes 126 days to complete all export procedures. However, the total time is reduced to 17 days if the one-time procedures are excluded. The total cost for completing all procedures, including one-time procedures are $2,610, for a typical truckload of 28 MT. One-time procedures accounted for nearly 50% of the total cost. 28 documents are needed to complete the process of exporting ferrosilicon from Bhutan to Europe, with around 103 copies required by the private sector and the government. Specific recommendations are given to improve trade in this commodity.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

PERIODICALS

showing 2
Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation (ROC-TF) Newsletter: Issue X, August 2016

This issue highlights the framework agreement on cross-border paperless trade facilitation adopted by the United Nations Regional Commission for Asia-Pacific, which will facilitate the exchange of electronic trade data and documents between participating United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) member states, and the 2016 Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade forum. The latterencourages the private sector to mobilize expertise in support of trade facilitation reforms to develop effective trade facilitation solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Newsletter also features SASEC-supported initiatives, including the launch of the new Maldives Customs Service training module on Customs valuation, as well as data collection for establishing the Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring baseline in Bhutan. The ROC-TF newsletter is a biannual publication featuring updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Customs Organization, and UNESCAP.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

EVENT MATERIALS

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Bhutan: Workshop on Harmonized System
2016-08-22, Gelephu, Bhutan
 

NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

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Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

Railway Network Linking India and its Neighbors Under Consideration

A railway network linking India and its neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, is being considered by the Government of India, according to India Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Developing railway connectivity will increase employment, interaction, trade, and tourism.

 

PUBLICATIONS

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World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Source: World Trade Organization

Scaling New Heights: Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor, India’s First Coastal Corridor

This book provides policymakers with a guide to understanding India’s economic corridor development strategy by examining its first coastal economic corridor, the East Coast Economic Corridor. It lays out the plan for its first phase, the Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor, which can help unify the country's domestic market, integrate its economy with Asia's global value chains, and support the 'Make in India' initiative to spur manufacturing through construction of world-class infrastructure supported by a major transport network, connecting urban clusters complemented by vibrant industrial zones, and encouraging a favorable and competitive environment for businesses to thrive, and facilitating efficient movement of goods and people. As a policy instrument and development strategy, economic corridors can help fast-track inclusive and sustainable economic growth, stimulate rapid industrialization and increase productivity, promote investments, and expand regional connectivity.

Source: Sabyasachi Mitra, Rana Hasan, Manoj Sharma, Hoe Yun Jeong, Manish Sharma, and Arindam Guha

Connecting Asia: Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia

This book contains background papers prepared for the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute joint study, 'Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia.' It emphasizes the potential contribution to growth that greater connectivity—through better transport and energy infrastructure and improved soft infrastructure, including trade facilitation—between South Asia and Southeast Asia can foster. With benefits including greater participation in global supply chains for South Asia; lower trade costs; and increase in inter- and intraregional trade, the book underscores that, at a juncture where closer regional integration can secure sustainable and inclusive growth for economies in the two regions, specific policies should be examined and considered to enable both regions to maximize gains from greater integration.

Source: Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan, Ganeshan Wignaraja, eds.

WORKING PAPER

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Digital Trade Facilitation: Paperless Trade in Regional Trade Agreements

Most regional trade agreements now feature one or more measures for electronically exchanging trade-related information. These measures are becoming essential to maintaining trade competitiveness and enabling effective participation in cross-border e-commerce. This paper examines the extent to which measures enabling paperless trade are included in regional trade agreements (RTAs), such as the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India Free Trade Agreement. India leads the region with the highest number of RTAs involving paperless trade measures. Asia-Pacific RTAs now increasingly cover specific areas of paperless trade such as electronic certificates of origin and sanitary and phytosanitary certificates.

Source: Yann Duval and Kong Mengjing

Paperless Trade in Regional Trade Agreements

This working paper provides a comprehensive list of paperless trade measures in regional trade agreements, which have become more extensive, covering increasingly specific areas including certificate of origins and sanitary and phytosanitary certificates. It also confirms that the number of paperless trade measures have doubled between 2005-2008 and 2013-2016 at the global level, with regional trade containing more provisions than those featured in the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement. It introduces the new United Nations Treaty and Framework Agreement on Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, which aims to become a tool for harmonized implementation of paperless trade provisions.

Source: Yann Duval and Kong Mengjing

The Long and Winding Road: How WTO Members Finally Reached a Trade Facilitation Agreement

The conclusion of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation at the Bali negotiations in December 2013 marked the end of a journey that lasted almost a decade. As the first multilateral trade agreement successfully negotiated by World Trade Organization (WTO) ministers, it broke new ground in the decentralized, bottom-up way the negotiations were structured; in the manner the capacities and resources of developing countries were addressed; and in how the Agreement has shifted the system’s focus beyond policy barriers toward process frictions. The negotiated outcome is likely to have an impact not just on Trade Facilitation, but on the WTO and the multilateral trading system as a whole.

Source: Nora Neufeld

REPORTS

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Development of East Coast Economic Corridor and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor

The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC)—India’s first coastal corridor—is an integrated economic development initiative that is expected to help pursue industrialization and integrate domestic companies into the global value chains of Southeast Asia and East Asia. Its development will start with Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), which covers about 800 kilometers and includes several ports and major industrial centers. This paper discusses strategies to consider when trying to improve shipping and air connectivity in the ECEC and Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC). It stresses the importance of infrastructure development and regulatory reforms that facilitate increased connectivity.

Source: Pritam Banerjee

Mekong-Ganga Cooperation: Breaking Barriers and Scaling New Heights

The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) promotes intra-regional collaboration among Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the areas of trade, tourism, culture, education, and transport and communications. This book reviews how MGC cooperation has grown since MGC's inception in 2000, including expansion of their economic and cultural relations. Under India's Act East Policy, MGC has gained further momentum – endorsing a Plan of Action 2016-2018, and planning extended connectivity of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. This report outlines important discussion points on trade, regional value chains, foreign direct investment, physical and digital connectivity, border connectivity, and cultural relations, to strengthen India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation linkages through MGC.

Source: Research and Information System for Developing Countries and ASEAN-India Centre

Improving Lives Together in Bangladesh: 50 Years of the Asian Development Bank

This report highlights the milestones in the Bangladesh-Asian Development Bank (ADB) partnership since 1973, including projects in transport and energy that have shown sustained development results. Development contributions from ADB-assisted projects in Bangladesh include the Second South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program (SASEC) Bangladesh-India Electrical Grid Interconnection Project that will help double electricity imports from India from the current 500 megawatts; the $505 million SASEC Railway Connectivity, Akhaura Laksam Double-Track Project, which will help railways meet passenger and freight demand; the SASEC Road Connectivity Project, which is upgrading a 70 km stretch along a corridor connecting the northwest to Dhaka to support domestic and subregional trade; and the SASEC Trade Facilitation Program, which aims to reduce non-tariff barriers by adopting international Customs administration protocols, upgrade existing Customs management systems, and establish a web-based electronic trade portal.

Source: Asian Development Bank

PERIODICALS

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Changing Patterns of Trade and Global Value Chains in Postcrisis Asia

This Asian Development Bank brief examines how patterns of trade and global value chains (GVCs) in developing Asia have changed since the global financial crisis. The paper reports that export slowdown in the region was caused by a combination of weak import demand for Asian goods in advanced economy markets, structural transformation and reduced import demand in the People’s Republic of China, and possible impact of increasing non-tariff measures. According to this paper, it further states that much of the weak import demand is likely to be temporary — developing Asia gained a 1.5% increase in exports in 2016, after a 0.8% decline in 2015. Among South Asian economies, India and Sri Lanka are expected to have better export volume growth in 2016.

Source: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Juzhong Zhuang, Mahinthan J. Mariasingham, and Madeline Dumaua-Cabauatan

Artnet Newsletter - July 2017

Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) is an open regional network composed of leading trade research institutions and think tanks across the Asia-Pacific region. The 2017 July issue of its newsletter features the benefits Sri Lanka could reap from its free trade agreement with India and the shaping of the digital trade agenda.

Source: Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

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Nepal: Electronic Cargo Tracking System Workshop
2017-03-06, Kathmandu, Nepal
 

NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

showing 3 of 92   VIEW ALL
Commentary: Standards Need Continuous Updating

This commentary by Ms. Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer, Business Initiative Leading Development, highlights the need to improve standards regulation to increase Bangladesh's competitiveness in the export-based manufacturing industry. Recommendations include raising capacity of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute to meet global standards in food safety, and involving the private sector in standard setting consultations.

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

India, Bangladesh to Gradually Remove NTBs

Mr. Harsh Vardan Shringla, India's High Commissioner to Bangladesh reiterated India's commitment to remove non-tariff barriers (NTBs) through the standard-setting bodies of India and Bangladesh. The Bureau of Indian Standards and the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institution have begun cooperating on certification of goods, to resolve NTB-related export restrictions.

 

PUBLICATIONS

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World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Source: World Trade Organization

NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis

The study “NTMs in South Asia: Assessment and Analysis” analyzes how Non-tariff Measures (NTMs) give rise to non-tariff barriers, which are becoming increasingly crucial for advancing trade cooperation among member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, yet remain less-addressed. The study examines export potential and actual export of South Asian countries, and attempts to highlight gains from reduction in transaction costs in bilateral trade. It also notes that initiatives for trade facilitation reforms in South Asia at the regional level remain low in incentives and have yet to produce significant results. The study closes with several recommendations for reducing and eliminating NTMs.

Source: Selim Raihan, Mostafa Abid Khan, and Shaquib Quoreshi

Asian Economic Integration Monitor: November 2014

This AEIM review of recent economic performance highlights the need for Asia to rebalance its sources of growth toward domestic and regional demand. It also shows a resilient Asia with rising GDP growth in South Asia. This issue includes a Special Chapter: Regional Financial Integration and Crisis in Asia and Europe – A Comparative Analysis. It presents Asia’s future path of integration as different from that in Europe. Asia will continue to strengthen efforts to harmonize rules and regulations in the financial sector and further unilateral trade and investment, while Europe is more likely to strengthen regional institutions to ensure recovery and better the monetary union.

Source: Asian Development Bank

WORKING PAPER

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Impact of Trade Facilitation on Foreign Direct Investment

This United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific Trade and Investment Working Paper attempts to quantify the potential impact of trade facilitation on foreign direct investment (FDI) flows. The study uses bilateral FDI data from 2006 onward from both developing and developed countries, including South-South FDI flows, wherein contiguity (common border between source and host country) and geographic distance are found to be much more important factors. In applying an augmented FDI model framework to determine the effect of comprehensive international trade costs, the results show that both non-tariff and tariff costs are important determinants of FDI inflows.

Source: Yann Duval and Chorthip Utoktham

Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation

This paper reports survey findings on progress in implementing various trade facilitation and paperless trade measures made by 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including six SASEC member countries. Factors considered include pre-arrival clearance, post-clearance audit, National Single Window, and authorized operator programmes. The survey reveals that while countries have prioritized automation and paperless trade at the regional level, there is an urgent need for regional arrangements that will facilitate cross-border exchange of trade-related electronic documents and information to enable smoother trade facilitation.

Source: Tengfei Wang and Yann Duval

REPORTS

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Asian Economic Integration Report 2016: What Drives Foreign Direct Investment in Asia and the Pacific?

The 2016 Asian Economic Integration Report reviews regional economic cooperation and integration in Asia and the Pacific, amidst the rising global uncertainty following the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union and the U.S. election, slower-than-expected global economic recovery, and ongoing economic restructuring in the People’s Republic of China and growth moderation. Asia faces heightened uncertainty–trade growth decelerated in 2015, falling to 2.3% in 2015; subregional trade linkages continue to strengthen, but inter-subregional trade linkages weakened; and non-tariff measures have become major obstacles to trade. In South Asia, SASEC cooperation has improved access to key markets in smaller economies, reduced real trade costs and behind-the-border barriers to stimulate investment; and enabled cross-border power exchanges to ensure power supply affordability, reliability, and overall grid stability. However, the SASEC agenda needs to be framed within wider integration processes taking place in Asia in the next decade to enhance economic linkages, and harness the full potential of Asian integration.

Source: Asian Development Bank

World Trade Report 2014 – Trade and Development: Recent Trends and the Role of the WTO

This annual publication highlights the relationship between trade and development, including changes since the start of the millennium. It identifies four key trends that altered the way trade affects development outcomes – accelerated economic growth in developing countries, expansion of global value chains, increase in agricultural and natural resource prices, and global nature of macroeconomic shocks. This report also explores how these trends have reshaped the role of trade in facilitating development and how recent development gains allow developing countries to adapt and mitigate risks.

Source: World Trade Organization

SASEC Website Brochure

This promotional brochure for the SASEC website features the web portal as a one-stop shop for information on SASEC activities, events, projects, and knowledge materials. The SASEC website seeks to build a dynamic discussion platform and repository of data on regional cooperation.

Source: Asian Development Bank

PERIODICALS

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Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation (ROC-TF) Newsletter: Issue X, August 2016

This issue highlights the framework agreement on cross-border paperless trade facilitation adopted by the United Nations Regional Commission for Asia-Pacific, which will facilitate the exchange of electronic trade data and documents between participating United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) member states, and the 2016 Global Facilitation Partnership for Transportation and Trade forum. The latterencourages the private sector to mobilize expertise in support of trade facilitation reforms to develop effective trade facilitation solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises. The Newsletter also features SASEC-supported initiatives, including the launch of the new Maldives Customs Service training module on Customs valuation, as well as data collection for establishing the Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring baseline in Bhutan. The ROC-TF newsletter is a biannual publication featuring updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank, the World Customs Organization, and UNESCAP.

Source: United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

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NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

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Regional Cooperation Initiatives to Bolster Greater Male Region Development

Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, Asian Development Bank (ADB), encouraged the active participation of Maldives in regional cooperation programs, in his two-day visit to Male, Maldives. ADB plans to increase support for Maldives in 2018-2019 through its indicative investment program that focuses on developing the Greater Male region, and also includes the SASEC National Window Project.

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting

The Directorate of Revenue Intelligence under the Central Board of Excise and Customs organized the 4th Regional Customs Enforcement Meeting in New Delhi, India, as part of its Founding Day celebrations. The Heads of Customs Enforcement from Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Mauritius and Maldives were invited to participate in the said Meeting, which discussed issues of mutual concern, noted the need to share information and activate channels of coordination.

 

PUBLICATIONS

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Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021

The Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021 of the Nepal Department of Customs (DOC) aims to serve as a blueprint of Customs reform for the next four years, with a vision to support Nepal's initiatives toward economic and social prosperity. With Nepal seeing continuous increase of cross-border trade over the last decades, this Plan is being implemented to align Nepal toward international standards. It outlines the DOC's vision, mission, guiding principles, as well as strategies, such as expediting legitimate trade facilitation and enhancing Customs automation and data management, to create a conducive environment for seamless movement of cargo traffic to and from the borders, and help in lowering transaction costs through greater transport facilitation.

Source: Nepal Department of Customs

Facilitate Trade for Development: Aid for Trade

The Aid for Trade program has been providing support to developing economies in tackling obstacles to growth through better facilitation of trade in the last 10 years. Since its launch in 2006, a total of $308 billion has been disbursed to finance aid-for-trade programs and projects, which are working to reduce trade and transport costs, promote trade expansion, and achieve economic and social objectives. As high trade costs persist in keeping developing countries from fully exploiting their trade and development potential, the Aid for Trade program remains highly relevant, and will help developing economies, including landlocked and small and vulnerable economies, achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: William Hynes and Frans Lammersen

Trade and Transport Facilitation Monitoring Mechanism: Baseline Study in Bangladesh

This publication shares 20 case stories from the Asian Development Bank bearing practical lessons for transport projects across Asia and the Pacific region under different socioeconomic and political situations. The book includes reports on SASEC projects for improving aviation in Bhutan and updating transport and trade facilitation software in Nepal, and the role policy plays in those projects. It also draws lessons from how India's road development increased rural communities' access to public services and economic opportunities, and how participatory processes in selecting road improvement projects in Bangladesh provide a model for long-term plan for road maintenance.

Source: Asian Development Bank

WORKING PAPER

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Policies to Enhance Trade Facilitation in South Asia and Southeast Asia

This Asian Development Bank Institute publication identifies the state of play of trade facilitation and provides an overview of intra- and inter-regional trade in South and Southeast Asia. It highlights key challenges and bottlenecks to effective trade facilitation, ranging from the lack of expert human resources such as information technology specialists in small landlocked countries (Bhutan and Nepal), to the high border transaction costs and severe congestion faced at border crossing points, and the lack of effective dialogue on bilateral enhancement of trade facilitation. Regional initiatives such as the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program aim to address these challenges through customs modernization and harmonization, automation, and the use of international best practices in border procedures.

Source: Anthony Bayley

Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation

This paper reports survey findings on progress in implementing various trade facilitation and paperless trade measures made by 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including six SASEC member countries. Factors considered include pre-arrival clearance, post-clearance audit, National Single Window, and authorized operator programmes. The survey reveals that while countries have prioritized automation and paperless trade at the regional level, there is an urgent need for regional arrangements that will facilitate cross-border exchange of trade-related electronic documents and information to enable smoother trade facilitation.

Source: Tengfei Wang and Yann Duval

REPORTS

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Time Release Study: Mechi and Biratnagar Customs 2017

Time Release Study is a special tool developed by the World Customs Organization to measure effectiveness of operational procedures carried out by Customs, other regulatory agencies and private sector stakeholders in the standard processing of imports, exports, cross border and transit movements. A key activity identified in Nepal's Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2013-2017, it identifies the average time taken for clearance of consignments from entry to exit in the Customs area, enabling possible corrective measures to improve performance. This Study was undertaken to support trade facilitation measures being introduced by the Nepal Department of Customs to reduce bottlenecks to faster Customs clearance, and promote seamless movement of cargo traffic to and from the Country.

Source: Nepal Department of Customs TRS Working Group

Asian Economic Integration Report 2016: What Drives Foreign Direct Investment in Asia and the Pacific?

The 2016 Asian Economic Integration Report reviews regional economic cooperation and integration in Asia and the Pacific, amidst the rising global uncertainty following the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union and the U.S. election, slower-than-expected global economic recovery, and ongoing economic restructuring in the People’s Republic of China and growth moderation. Asia faces heightened uncertainty–trade growth decelerated in 2015, falling to 2.3% in 2015; subregional trade linkages continue to strengthen, but inter-subregional trade linkages weakened; and non-tariff measures have become major obstacles to trade. In South Asia, SASEC cooperation has improved access to key markets in smaller economies, reduced real trade costs and behind-the-border barriers to stimulate investment; and enabled cross-border power exchanges to ensure power supply affordability, reliability, and overall grid stability. However, the SASEC agenda needs to be framed within wider integration processes taking place in Asia in the next decade to enhance economic linkages, and harness the full potential of Asian integration.

Source: Asian Development Bank

Disentangling Transit Costs and Time in South Asia

Landlocked least developed countries are often hugely disadvantaged from a lack of effective transit options, which raise transportation costs and decrease their effective participation in international trade. This study examines trade barriers that impede the trade flow of Bhutan and Nepal through India's gateway ports of Haldia and Kolkata, under the overarching research theme of the impact of regional infrastructure for trade facilitation on growth and poverty reduction. It analyzes the impact of transit regulations and agreements on the cost of services required to transit goods between the ports and Bhutan or Nepal, to identify how the two landlocked countries are affected by the cost of transit services, which trade costs vary most significantly, and how firms are affected by the cost of transit services.

Source: Prabir De, editor

PERIODICALS

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Removing Obstacles to Low Value Consignments (Trade Insights: Issue No. 18)

Diffusion of digital technology and digitalization of products and services are allowing developing country small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)—which generate the majority of employment, especially in landlocked developing countries such as Nepal—to become globally competitive and participate in international trade. However, several barriers continue to hinder developing country SMEs to maximize benefits of cross-border digital trade. This publication recommends critical actions, including raising de-minimis thresholds; reducing Customs document requirements; developing low-cost and efficient transportation, delivery services, telecommunications and broadband networks; and establishing a legal framework that enhances conduct of online transactions. Additionally, neighbors in the region must coordinate and work together to build the required infrastructure, and to allow for mutual recognition or harmonization of systems, procedures, enforcement mechanisms and laws affecting digital trade.

Source: Pascale Bourquin and Adam Heal

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

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Nepal: Electronic Cargo Tracking System Workshop
2017-03-06, Kathmandu, Nepal
 

NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

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ADB to Help Nepal Modernize Trade Facilitation

The Asian Development Bank's has approved a $21 million loan to support the Government of Nepal’s efforts to simplify, harmonize, and modernize the country’s trade processes, under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation. The program will help the country in promote and diversify exports, and help it fulfill its commitments to international customs standards.

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Meet on Promoting Bilateral Trade

The Nepal-Bangladesh Youth Conference 2017 was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, to discuss possible ways to increase bilateral trade between Nepal and Bangladesh. The environment and the economic and business sectors were among the topics tackled at the conference.

 

PUBLICATIONS

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World Trade Statistical Review 2017

The World Trade Statistical Review looks at the last 10 years and examines the latest developments in world trade, with a detailed analysis of the most recent trends for trade in goods and services. The book gives information on the participation of India, Bangladesh, and other South Asian economies in world trade, and highlights trends in the use of trade-facilitating measures. It also gives information on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and regional trade agreements, such as the South Asian Free Trade Arrangement.

Source: World Trade Organization

Connecting Asia: Infrastructure for Integrating South and Southeast Asia

This book contains background papers prepared for the Asian Development Bank and the Asian Development Bank Institute joint study, 'Connecting South Asia and Southeast Asia.' It emphasizes the potential contribution to growth that greater connectivity—through better transport and energy infrastructure and improved soft infrastructure, including trade facilitation—between South Asia and Southeast Asia can foster. With benefits including greater participation in global supply chains for South Asia; lower trade costs; and increase in inter- and intraregional trade, the book underscores that, at a juncture where closer regional integration can secure sustainable and inclusive growth for economies in the two regions, specific policies should be examined and considered to enable both regions to maximize gains from greater integration.

Source: Michael G. Plummer, Peter J. Morgan, Ganeshan Wignaraja, eds.

Connecting South Asia and South East Asia

This book analyzes how closer regional connectivity and economic integration between South Asia and Southeast Asia can benefit both subregions. It aims to build a broad case for increased connectivity between the two regions and identify specific projects that have high potential to fulfill this objective. This joint study focuses on both “hard” infrastructure and associated “soft” infrastructure, including tariffs and non-tariff barriers, trade and transport facilitation, energy trading, and infrastructure investment and financing. It further provides a canvas for considering strategic cross-border infrastructure investments and policy reforms.

Source: Asian Development Bank Institute and Asian Development Bank

WORKING PAPER

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The Role of Sri Lanka in Enhancing Connectivity between South Asia and Southeast Asia

As Sri Lanka rebuilds at the end of a 30-year conflict, its progress in improving physical infrastructure—including the Colombo port expansion and other programs for new expressways and road connectivity—has been significant. Yet, the country has seen a sharp decline in its overall exports-to-gross domestic product ratio. How Sri Lanka can benefit from greater connectivity with its neighbors in South Asia and Southeast Asia is discussed in this paper. Trade policies geared towards enhancing regional integration efforts could boost Sri Lanka's economy. Additionally, to lessen the challenges of financing and sustaining implementation of planned infrastructure development efforts, Sri Lanka could also implement a more stringent institutional and regulatory environment encouraging more private sector participation.

Source: Dushni Weerakoon and Nipuni Perera

Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation

This paper reports survey findings on progress in implementing various trade facilitation and paperless trade measures made by 29 countries in Asia and the Pacific, including six SASEC member countries. Factors considered include pre-arrival clearance, post-clearance audit, National Single Window, and authorized operator programmes. The survey reveals that while countries have prioritized automation and paperless trade at the regional level, there is an urgent need for regional arrangements that will facilitate cross-border exchange of trade-related electronic documents and information to enable smoother trade facilitation.

Source: Tengfei Wang and Yann Duval

REPORTS

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Asian Economic Integration Report 2016: What Drives Foreign Direct Investment in Asia and the Pacific?

The 2016 Asian Economic Integration Report reviews regional economic cooperation and integration in Asia and the Pacific, amidst the rising global uncertainty following the United Kingdom’s referendum on leaving the European Union and the U.S. election, slower-than-expected global economic recovery, and ongoing economic restructuring in the People’s Republic of China and growth moderation. Asia faces heightened uncertainty–trade growth decelerated in 2015, falling to 2.3% in 2015; subregional trade linkages continue to strengthen, but inter-subregional trade linkages weakened; and non-tariff measures have become major obstacles to trade. In South Asia, SASEC cooperation has improved access to key markets in smaller economies, reduced real trade costs and behind-the-border barriers to stimulate investment; and enabled cross-border power exchanges to ensure power supply affordability, reliability, and overall grid stability. However, the SASEC agenda needs to be framed within wider integration processes taking place in Asia in the next decade to enhance economic linkages, and harness the full potential of Asian integration.

Source: Asian Development Bank

Global Enabling Trade Report 2016

The Global Enabling Trade Report has been created to provide insight into trade policy and practice. It includes the Enabling Trade Index (ETI), which assesses the extent to which economies have in place institutions, policies, infrastructures and services facilitating the free flow of goods over borders and to their destination. This edition highlights that while an increasingly globalized trading system has been lifting millions out of poverty, trade barriers and costs are still preventing millions of people around the world from engaging in international trade. It reports that all South Asian economies have improved their ETI score over the past two years, with Bhutan as the most improved country in the region, jumping 12 places to 92, followed by India at 102, Sri Lanka at 103, Nepal at 108, Pakistan at 122, and Bangladesh at 123, yet the region remains the most closed worldwide. While South Asia has improved its access to foreign markets and adoption of ICTs, it needs to improve access to its domestic market – on average, South Asian countries impose a tariff of 16.7% on imported products – and enhance its transport infrastructure, particularly in Bhutan and Nepal.

Source: Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation and the World Economic Forum

World Trade Organization Annual Report 2015

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Annual Report 2015 provides an overview of WTO activities in 2014 and early 2015. It presents a timeline of two decades of the WTO -- from its origins succeeding the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade to its current role in the multilateral trading system. It presents a chapter on how WTO helps developing countries build trade capacity and allows them to implement trade agreements. WTO training courses are organized for officials from developing countries each year.

Source: World Trade Organization

PERIODICALS

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Changing Patterns of Trade and Global Value Chains in Postcrisis Asia

This Asian Development Bank brief examines how patterns of trade and global value chains (GVCs) in developing Asia have changed since the global financial crisis. The paper reports that export slowdown in the region was caused by a combination of weak import demand for Asian goods in advanced economy markets, structural transformation and reduced import demand in the People’s Republic of China, and possible impact of increasing non-tariff measures. According to this paper, it further states that much of the weak import demand is likely to be temporary — developing Asia gained a 1.5% increase in exports in 2016, after a 0.8% decline in 2015. Among South Asian economies, India and Sri Lanka are expected to have better export volume growth in 2016.

Source: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Juzhong Zhuang, Mahinthan J. Mariasingham, and Madeline Dumaua-Cabauatan

Artnet Newsletter - July 2017

Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) is an open regional network composed of leading trade research institutions and think tanks across the Asia-Pacific region. The 2017 July issue of its newsletter features the benefits Sri Lanka could reap from its free trade agreement with India and the shaping of the digital trade agenda.

Source: Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

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NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

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India, Sri Lanka Sign MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on 25-29 April 2017, for discussion with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation.

Bangladesh Wants to Be South Asia’s Transport Hub

Bangladesh has the potential to become a transport hub for India, Bhutan, Nepal, Maldives, Sri Lanka, and Myamar, according to Mr. AMA Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh. Turning Bangladesh into a regional and transshipment hub would enhance economic cooperation and result in collective economic growth for the countries, Mr. Muhith said at the SASEC Finance Ministers’ Meeting in New Delhi, India.

APTA Member Countries Move to Boost Trade in the Region

Bangladesh, China, India, Laos, South Korea, and Sri Lanka, member countries of the Asia-Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA), moved to expand trade and boost growth in the region by agreeing to increase the number of products under preferential tariff treatment to 10,677 items from 4,270 at the 4th session of the APTA Ministerial Council.

 

PUBLICATIONS

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Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All

Governments including that of India have relied on Doing Business to provide insights into good practices worldwide. Doing Business 2017: Equal Opportunity for All presents quantitative indicators on business regulations that can be compared across 190 economies. It shows how South Asia can work to improve certain areas, including removing restrictions on women’s right to work. It also shows how South Asia has been the most successful region in terms of trading across borders. Bhutan, with a global ranking of 73, ranks highest among South Asian countries.

Source: World Bank Group

Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021

The Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021 of the Nepal Department of Customs (DOC) aims to serve as a blueprint of Customs reform for the next four years, with a vision to support Nepal's initiatives toward economic and social prosperity. With Nepal seeing continuous increase of cross-border trade over the last decades, this Plan is being implemented to align Nepal toward international standards. It outlines the DOC's vision, mission, guiding principles, as well as strategies, such as expediting legitimate trade facilitation and enhancing Customs automation and data management, to create a conducive environment for seamless movement of cargo traffic to and from the borders, and help in lowering transaction costs through greater transport facilitation.

Source: Nepal Department of Customs

Facilitate Trade for Development: Aid for Trade

The Aid for Trade program has been providing support to developing economies in tackling obstacles to growth through better facilitation of trade in the last 10 years. Since its launch in 2006, a total of $308 billion has been disbursed to finance aid-for-trade programs and projects, which are working to reduce trade and transport costs, promote trade expansion, and achieve economic and social objectives. As high trade costs persist in keeping developing countries from fully exploiting their trade and development potential, the Aid for Trade program remains highly relevant, and will help developing economies, including landlocked and small and vulnerable economies, achieve the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Source: William Hynes and Frans Lammersen

WORKING PAPER

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Time, Uncertainty, and Trade Flows

This paper assesses the impact of international transit time and time-related uncertainty on bilateral trade, including their impact on trade costs. It concludes that international transit time matters primarily for South-South trade, while uncertainty is more important for North-North trade. Both factors are confirmed to be statistically and economically significant determinants of bilateral trade, including global value chains, and strengthens the ground on the emerging policy emphasis to address the overall costs faced by supply chain operators, including costs linked to uncertainty.

Source: Jose Anson, Jean-Francois Arvis, Mauro Boffa, Matthias Helble, and Benjamin Shepherd

Accumulating Trade Costs and Competitiveness in Global Value Chains

This paper examines the implications of trade costs, including applied tariffs, transportation and insurance costs, on competitiveness at industry, national and global levels, and identifies where trade facilitation investment would have the highest social returns from the perspective of global value chains (GVCs). With trade costs amplified along GVCs, profitability of individual business operations are affected by incurred transaction expenses. The authors conclude that direct benefits of trade facilitation will be higher for countries that are not yet well integrated into international trade, but key traders who are at the core of GVCs also stand to gain much.

Source: Antonia Diakantoni, Hubert Escaith, Michael Roberts and Thomas Verbeet

Trade and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

Trade and services are instrumental in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals. While openness to trade improves economic growth prospects, sound trade policy and efforts to reduce the costs of trade are necessary to bridge the link between trade growth and poverty reduction. For low income countries, there is still great scope to leverage trade for development, and pursue better access to a products and services to improve welfare, which can significantly contribute to economic development. In keeping with the post-2015 development agenda, this paper recommends sustained efforts by governments to reduce trade costs, support policy reforms to improve services trade, and focus on trade cost reduction and services trade facilitation.

Source: Bernard Hoekman

REPORTS

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Development of East Coast Economic Corridor and Vizag-Chennai Industrial Corridor

The East Coast Economic Corridor (ECEC)—India’s first coastal corridor—is an integrated economic development initiative that is expected to help pursue industrialization and integrate domestic companies into the global value chains of Southeast Asia and East Asia. Its development will start with Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC), which covers about 800 kilometers and includes several ports and major industrial centers. This paper discusses strategies to consider when trying to improve shipping and air connectivity in the ECEC and Vizag–Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC). It stresses the importance of infrastructure development and regulatory reforms that facilitate increased connectivity.

Source: Pritam Banerjee

Time Release Study: Mechi and Biratnagar Customs 2017

Time Release Study is a special tool developed by the World Customs Organization to measure effectiveness of operational procedures carried out by Customs, other regulatory agencies and private sector stakeholders in the standard processing of imports, exports, cross border and transit movements. A key activity identified in Nepal's Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2013-2017, it identifies the average time taken for clearance of consignments from entry to exit in the Customs area, enabling possible corrective measures to improve performance. This Study was undertaken to support trade facilitation measures being introduced by the Nepal Department of Customs to reduce bottlenecks to faster Customs clearance, and promote seamless movement of cargo traffic to and from the Country.

Source: Nepal Department of Customs TRS Working Group

Mekong-Ganga Cooperation: Breaking Barriers and Scaling New Heights

The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) promotes intra-regional collaboration among Cambodia, India, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in the areas of trade, tourism, culture, education, and transport and communications. This book reviews how MGC cooperation has grown since MGC's inception in 2000, including expansion of their economic and cultural relations. Under India's Act East Policy, MGC has gained further momentum – endorsing a Plan of Action 2016-2018, and planning extended connectivity of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway to Cambodia, Laos, and Vietnam. This report outlines important discussion points on trade, regional value chains, foreign direct investment, physical and digital connectivity, border connectivity, and cultural relations, to strengthen India and the Association of Southeast Asian Nation linkages through MGC.

Source: Research and Information System for Developing Countries and ASEAN-India Centre

PERIODICALS

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Changing Patterns of Trade and Global Value Chains in Postcrisis Asia

This Asian Development Bank brief examines how patterns of trade and global value chains (GVCs) in developing Asia have changed since the global financial crisis. The paper reports that export slowdown in the region was caused by a combination of weak import demand for Asian goods in advanced economy markets, structural transformation and reduced import demand in the People’s Republic of China, and possible impact of increasing non-tariff measures. According to this paper, it further states that much of the weak import demand is likely to be temporary — developing Asia gained a 1.5% increase in exports in 2016, after a 0.8% decline in 2015. Among South Asian economies, India and Sri Lanka are expected to have better export volume growth in 2016.

Source: Ganeshan Wignaraja, Juzhong Zhuang, Mahinthan J. Mariasingham, and Madeline Dumaua-Cabauatan

Artnet Newsletter - July 2017

Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade (ARTNeT) is an open regional network composed of leading trade research institutions and think tanks across the Asia-Pacific region. The 2017 July issue of its newsletter features the benefits Sri Lanka could reap from its free trade agreement with India and the shaping of the digital trade agenda.

Source: Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade

Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation, Issue IX, January 2016

This biannual publication features updates, publications and forthcoming activities of regional and international organizations working on trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific region, including the Asian Development Bank (ADB), the World Customs Organization (WCO), and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific. It includes highlights of the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2015 and the Train-the-Trainer Workshops on Customs Valuation through Post Clearance Audit being jointly implemented by the WCO and ADB in the 6 SASEC member countries. This issue also features an analysis on achieving seamless supply chains through implementing comprehensive and pragmatic national trade facilitation reform programs.

Source: UNESCAP

EVENT MATERIALS

showing 3 of 96   VIEW ALL
Nepal: Electronic Cargo Tracking System Workshop
2017-03-06, Kathmandu, Nepal
 

NEWS & MULTIMEDIA

showing 3 of 180   VIEW ALL
ADB to Help Nepal Modernize Trade Facilitation

The Asian Development Bank's has approved a $21 million loan to support the Government of Nepal’s efforts to simplify, harmonize, and modernize the country’s trade processes, under the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation. The program will help the country in promote and diversify exports, and help it fulfill its commitments to international customs standards.

Commentary: Standards Need Continuous Updating

This commentary by Ms. Ferdaus Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer, Business Initiative Leading Development, highlights the need to improve standards regulation to increase Bangladesh's competitiveness in the export-based manufacturing industry. Recommendations include raising capacity of the Bangladesh Standards and Testing Institute to meet global standards in food safety, and involving the private sector in standard setting consultations.

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative