ESCAP Interim Intergovernmental Steering Group on Cross-border Paperless Trade Facilitation and its Legal and Technical Working Groups have focused on preparing a draft road map and supporting documents for the implementation of the substantive provisions of the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific since its finalization and adoption in 2016.  As part of its support, Legal and Technical Readiness Checklists have been developed.

Legal and technical readiness checklists

Legal readiness checklist is designed to assess the degree to which the laws of their country enable cross-border paperless trade. It can also identify potential legal gaps and highlights what may need to be done to ensure the laws support engagement in cross-border paperless trade. Technical checklist is to assess the degree to which the technical environment of their country is ready to support cross-border paperless trade. It can also identify potential technical gaps and actions to improve the technical environment.

It should be noted that the checklists are not intended to assess the readiness of a country to join the Framework Agreement. It is not necessary for a country to modernize its laws, procedures or systems before ratifying or acceding to the Framework Agreement. Paperless trade implementation is a work in progress, and the Framework Agreement is a tool meant to support such progress regardless of the level of readiness of a country. Also, although the checklists were originally developed to support parties to conduct self-assessments, according to the draft implementation roadmap for implementation of the Framework Agreement, the checklists could well be used for anyone, to conduct readiness assessment in cross-border paperless trade. The readiness assessment, and ultimately the action plan, could provide a foundation to elaborate more detailed activities at national and agency level in this area, with identifiable timelines and budget sources.

Cross-Border Paperless Trade Readiness Assessment reports of selected countries can be accessed here

Readiness assessment guides for cross-border paperless trade

This readiness assessment guide will facilitate self-assessments of legal and technical readiness on cross-border paperless trade. Following the structure of the checklists, the guide is divided into legal and technical areas.

Legal readiness assessment guide deals with four major legal issue area relevant to cross-border paperless trade, namely electronics transactions and signatures law; laws regarding paperless trade system; cross-border aspects, and other considerations.

Technical readiness assessment guide, in the first section, deals with technical issues related to the implementation of an electronic trade systems and paperless environment at the national level. Then second section attempts to assess the ability of a country to embark on cross-border paperless trade data exchange.


Quick technical assessment and quick legal action plan could assist in generating a list of recommendations and developing action plans towards cross-border paperless trade based on the assessments.


The legal part of the readiness assessment guide has been prepared by John Gregory and Hemali Shah (ESCAP consultants) and the technical part by Somnuk Keretho (ESCAP consultant). The guide has been finalized under the direct supervision of Luca Castellani (UNCITRAL) for the legal part and Soo Hyun Kim (ESCAP), with overall supervision of Yann Duval (ESCAP). The guide benefited from reviews and suggestions from Tahseen Ahmad Khan (UN/CEFACT Vice Chair) and Sang Won Lim (ESCAP), for the technical part, and from the Legal and Technical Working Groups of the Interim Intergovernmental Steering Group on Cross-border Paperless Trade Facilitation. 

Preparation and enhancement of this platform benefited from the financial support from the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF), as well as under the UN Development Account project “Transport and trade connectivity in the age of pandemics: contactless, seamless and collaborative UN solutions”.