The Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, a UN treaty deposited with the Secretary General of the United Nations in New York, aims at accelerating the implementation of digital trade facilitation measures for trade and development. Designed as an inclusive instrument accessible to countries at all levels of development to develop their capacity to engage in cross-border paperless trade, the final treaty text was adopted by the Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific in May 2016. Trade cost reductions expected from full implementation of cross-border paperless trade are estimated at 10-30% of existing transactions costs, depending on the current state of paperless trade development in the participating countries. Significant benefits in terms of trade compliance are also expected.
The Agreement entered into force on 20 February 2021 – as stated in Article 19 of the Agreement, it entered into force 90 days after the date on which the Governments of at least 5 ESCAP member States have deposited their instruments of ratification or accession. Azerbaijan acceded in March 2018, Philippines in December 2019, the Islamic Republic of Iran in May 2020, Bangladesh in October 2020 and China, as the 5th country, in November 2020. In addition, Timor-Leste acceded in April 2022. In addition, Armenia and Cambodia signed it in 2017. Several other ESCAP member States are in the process of completing their domestic processes for accession.