Singapore, 2 September 2022 (TDI): The 10th Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum co-organized by Asian Development Bank (ADB) and The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN ESCAP) with the Ministry of Trade and Industry, Singapore was held from 29 August to 1 September.

The forum focused exclusively on how trade facilitation should evolve to improve the resilience of global supply chains in times of pandemic and to better support long-term economic recovery and development in the Asia-Pacific region.

Also read: Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2022

In this regard, the Forum examined the use of emerging technologies and trade digitalization in trade facilitation.

Moreover, it ensured that new generation trade facilitation measures are inclusive and sustainable enabling effective involvement of SMEs and less developed economies in international trade.

The Forum featured panel discussions, informative sessions, & interactive activities that let participants exchange experiences and viewpoints on a variety of trade facilitation-related topics.

Each session of the Forum highlighted pertinent regional initiatives as well as implementation cases.

Pronouncements by ADB Chief Economist

Chief Economist of the Asian Development Bank, Albert Park, while addressing the APTFF 2022 said that next-generation trade facilitation should include environmental trade and investment policies as well as digital expansion as an inclusive solution for sustainability.

In a statement, Albert Park stated that the need to forge ahead in digitalization and reforms, also in trade facilitation and finance access is extremely urgent. Also, trade facilitation promises huge aims, including more inclusive and sustainable benefits.

Furthermore, the ADB Chief Economist showed his concern over the digital divide issues. He reiterated that this challenge should be our top priority moving ahead.

He said that the pandemic had accelerated e-commerce and digital trading. Study proves that higher digital penetration works well with increased e-commerce and GDP growth.

In addition, Albert Park stated that the urgency of a warming planet means we should also support strong environmental, social, and governance practices in trade activity, such as funding trade in renewable energy sources rather than fossil fuels.

Statements by Representatives at APTFF 2022

Executive Secretary of UNESCAP, Armida Alisjahbana, while addressing the APTFF 2022 stated that as per ESCAP research, achieving paperless trade in the Asia Pacific region would be comparable to planting 400 million trees.

Low Yen Ling, Minister of Trade and Industry Singapore, at the opening session of APTFF said that governments and businesses acknowledge the need to enhance and facilitate trade.

Moreover, she added that with digitalization trade processes can be made β€œmore agile and enhance business resilience.”

Additionally, the UNCTAD also participated in the APTFF 2022, it advocated sustainable trade facilitation.

According to UNCTAD Sustainable trade facilitation demands cross-border digital interoperability and an integrated approach built on private-public cooperation through National Trade Facilitation Committees.