Red tape in trade costing $ 300b a year in Asia Pacific

Monday, 25 October 2010 06:31 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}

Region’s developing nations call for simpler regulations

With red tape in trade costing $ 300 billion a year in Asia and the Pacific, developing nations in the region have issued an urgent call at a United Nations-backed meeting for governments to streamline global trade procedures and ensure that regulations are simple, consistent and transparent.

It still takes 30 days to move goods from factory to ship deck in Asia-Pacific countries, compared with an average of 10 days for nations belonging to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).

More than 200 participants from 33 Asia-Pacific nations took part in the two-day gathering in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, which wrapped up yesterday and was organized by the UN Economic and Social Commissions for Asia (ESCAP) and for Europe (UNECE) and the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“The somewhat shocking reality is that Asia-Pacific is better connected to Europe and America than with itself,” said Ravi Ratnayake, Director of ESCAP’s Trade and Investment Division.

He pointed to research showing that on average, it costs 20 per cent less for Asian nations to trade with North America and Europe due to cumbersome border procedures, sometimes requiring hundreds of approval documents.

At the end of the Kuala Lumpur meeting, participants adopted a road map to push forward trade facilitation reforms – including concluding a regional agreement on electronic exchange of trade documents – at both the national and regional levels.