1. The checklist will help users to assess the degree to which the technical environment of their country is ready to support cross-border paperless trade, identify existing technical gaps and design actions to improve the technical environment. The checklist will also help to raise the awareness of its users on technical issues in cross-border paperless trade.
2. It should be noted that the checklist is not intended to assess the readiness of a country to join the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, which was adopted as a United Nations treaty in 2016. This treaty enables parties to gradually adapt their trade procedures and related systems for the purpose of cross-border trade without paper. It is not necessary to modernize procedures and systems before ratifying or acceding to the 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.
3. The checklist is in the form of a questionnaire on technical issues and motivation factors in implementing paperless trade systems and cross-border data exchange. It is necessary to assess the status of paperless trade systems implementation at the national level before looking into readiness for cross border data exchange. The checklist takes into consideration national issues such as the implementation of electronic and paperless transactions at the national level, and the importance of a single window for cross-border paperless trade data exchange. The questionnaire is structured into two sections: section A – paperless trade system at the national level and section B – national status towards cross-border data exchange.
4. Section A focuses on technical issues related to the implementation of an electronic trade systems and paperless environment at the national level. Technical issues are grouped into the following eight categories: (a) institutional and governance bodies for electronic data exchange in paperless environment; (b) level of automation; (c) information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure (connectivity, sustainability and recovery); (d) security; (e) business process reengineering; (f) data harmonization and standardization; (g) capacity-building; and (h) other matters.
5. Section B is aimed at assessing the ability of a country or an organization to embark on cross-border paperless trade data exchange. The questions are related to various issues and challenges in the implementation of paperless trade systems and cross-border data exchange. The answers to these questions will help to reveal the current status and assess the level of readiness to implement paperless trade systems and cross-border data exchange.
6. The questions in sections A and B may be answered by the relevant government personnel involved in trade facilitation and cross-border trade activities. It is recommended that all relevant government personnel engaged in elements of paperless trade and key private stakeholders collaborate in completing the checklist.
Section A: Paperless trade system at the national level
The technical readiness checklist Section A focuses on technical issues related to the implementation of electronic trade systems and paperless environment at the national level.
Section B: National Status towards Cross-Border Data Exchange
Section B is aimed at assessing the status of a country or an organization to embark on cross-border paperless trade data exchange.