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Development Account Projects

Enhancing the trade competitiveness of least developed countries, countries in transition, and transit countries through the implementation of single-window facilities

Background:

Simplified one-stop systems for the submission and processing of trade documents and requirements have been established in many developed and developing countries. This single-window approach to trade has reduced the cost and complexity of international trade, increased competitiveness and reduced corruption at the border. These systems are important for small and medium sized enterprises for which the relative cost of trade procedures is high, as well as for exports, because procedural costs reduce the competitiveness of goods from low-income countries. Enhancing trade efficiency and competitiveness is closely linked to simplified one-stop systems for the submission and processing of trade documents and data (better known as single window). Such facilities have reduced the cost and complexity of international trade, increased export competitiveness and reduced corruption at the border.

The project seeks to increase networking among these selected landlocked, least developed countries, countries in transition, and transit countries in Asia and the Pacific region so that their capacity to implement international standards for electronic trade data exchange and single window facilities is increased. Furthermore, it will examine conditions for potential subregional single window systems and electronic trade data exchange integrating landlocked and transit countries in Central Asia and South and Southeast Asia.

Objective:

To enhance the capacity of the Governments in least developed countries and countries in transition in South, South-East and Central Asia to develop single-window facilities to reduce the cost and complexity of trade transactions and increase their export competitiveness.

Expected accomplishments:

  • Improved awareness of least developed countries and countries in transition to develop and implement integrated national and subregional single-window systems
  • Countries will consider adopting trade facilitation recommendations, guidelines and tools developed by the Untied Nations and international conventions related to the establishment of single-window facilities and the alignment of trade documents.

Implementation status:

The project is having significant impact in bringing paperless trade and single window stakeholders and experts together, as well as in fostering collaboration among donors and international agencies involved in trade facilitation in target countries. This has been done through continuous development of the United Nations Network for Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT), as well as co-funding by the project (with ADB and USAID among others) of various events, including subregional workshop sessions for Central Asia, South Asia and Southeast Asia, during the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2010.

Continuing capacity building activities for the project implementation in Mongolia have resulted in a complete Single Window Master Plan to be endorsed by the Government in 2011 and submitted to donors for funding. Capacity Building activities in Cambodia have focused on business process analysis to streamline trade procedures of key strategic products; this work resulted in several recommendations in support of implementing the new National Rice Policy of Cambodia – aimed at enabling the country to export quality rice at competitive rates. The UNNExT Business Process Analysis guide and method was also introduced in various target countries, including to customs and other trade control authorities in Azerbaijan. Project activities also contributed to increasing awareness and building capacity on data harmonization and the use of international standards, in particular through a joint UNNExT/ESCAP/ECE/WCO/ADB/ASEAN/USAID specialized workshop held on the side of the regional Forum.

An online database of trade facilitation and paperless trade experts is now available under UNNeXT, making it easier to access relevant expertise to speed up paperless trade implementation. Regional Advisory Groups on specialized issues related to single window development have also been created.