UNESCAP and PNG national consultation on the  CPTA

Papua New Guinea explores accession to Cross-Border Paperless Trade Agreement

Papua New Guinea’s (PNG) Ministry of International Trade and Investment (MITI) convened a comprehensive national consultation on 6th February to deliberate on the country’s potential accession to the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade (CPTA).

CPTA is a UN Treaty whose aim is to make cross-border exchange of electronic data and documents among parties legally and technically possible. The agreement is open to members of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), which includes 13 Pacific Island Countries (PICs).

The consultation workshop saw participation from various stakeholders and experts deliberating on various topics, including the Agreement’s key provisions, the benefits and implications of accession, and the necessary processes involved. Discussions also touched upon the alignment of the Agreement with international and regional objectives, notably the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap (the Strategy) endorsed by Forum Trade Ministers in August 2021.

The event represents significant milestone towards PNG’s accession to CPTA. It is also aligned with Measure 3.1.3 of the Strategy, which underscores the importance of the accession to CPTA to improve regional economic integration and trade effectiveness among PICs.

Cross-border paperless trade offers numerous benefits according to ESCAP research. These include reducing trade costs by 8-12 percent in the Asia-Pacific region, fostering inclusive trade participation for SMEs, saving 13 million tons of CO2 emissions annually (equivalent to planting 400 million trees), and cutting tax revenue losses from trade misinvoicing by at least USD 119 billion per year. Overall, embracing paperless trade can enhance efficiency, inclusivity, sustainability, and integrity in international trade.

In her opening remarks, Mrs Bridgette Kamish, Officer in Charge of the National Trade Office and Director of Trade Policy and the World Trade Organization Section of MITI, underscored the commitment of PNG to leverage digital technologies for trade and economic development, stating, ‘Papua New Guinea recognises the transformative power of digital technologies in the realm of trade, and our government has long been dedicated to leveraging these tools to benefit our economy and our people. Our decision to pursue membership in the UNESCAP Framework Agreement aligns seamlessly with our national policies and underscores our determination to embrace innovative solutions that facilitate seamless cross-border trade, reduce bureaucratic barriers, and stimulate economic development’.

Mr Yann Duval, representing ESCAP’s Trade Policy and Facilitation Section, provided insightful opening remarks ‘The Framework Agreement, a UN treaty that entered into force in 2021, can support Papua New Guinea in improving its competitiveness by digitalizing trade procedures, through capacity building, technical assistance activities and regional dialogues, and importantly by institutionalizing a long-term path for trade digitalization. In fact, the Pacific Regional E-commerce Strategy and Roadmap endorsed by trade ministers aim to support 10 Pacific Island countries to join the Framework Agreement before 2026’.

Tuvalu is currently the only Pacific ESCAP member among the seven parties to CPTA. With PNG’s potential inclusion, there will be significant reinforcement of collective aspirations for trade facilitation, economic integration, and sustainable development in the Asia-Pacific region.


To know more about paperless trade, please click here or visit the resources available online at the PIFS E-commerce Disciplines for Policymakers here.

For more information about CPTA, please click here.

For more information about CPTA’s governance mechanisms, please click here.

ESCAP members in the Pacific are: Australia, Fiji, Marshall Islands, Federated States of Micronesia, Nauru, New Zealand, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.

Associate ESCAP members in the Pacific are: American Samoa, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Guam, New Caledonia, Niue and the North Mariana Islands as associate members.

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