Last reviewed 6 July 2022

The Cross-border Paperless Trade Toolkit highlights the technical and legal tools that may be used by governments to transition to cross-border paperless trade and to improve the efficiency of export/import procedures.

Produced by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) in collaboration with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and the United Nations Commission on International Trade Law (UNCITRAL), the 52-page report can be found  here.

“The Cross-border Paperless Trade Toolkit that we are launching today responds to growing demands for practical and solutions-oriented instruments that can harness trade digitalisation for easier, less costly and more inclusive global trade,” WTO Deputy Director-General Anabel Gonzalez said.

It builds on the guides and checklists developed by ESCAP, with the aim of helping users conduct self-assessments of their cross-border systems.

The benefits of trade digitalisation are evident, the WTO notes, but its implementation may be challenging. Policy decisions require legal and technical action to allow the transition to cross-border paperless trade systems.

The toolkit is intended to help officials implement paperless trade systems by looking at the steps needed to establish appropriate legal and technical frameworks that promote efficient cross-border practices.

It also lists the international and regional organisations providing technical assistance and support programmes in this area.

“Paperless trade can be a very powerful tool to reduce trade costs, which is key to making economies more efficient, global trade more inclusive, and supply chains more resilient,” Ms Gonzalez concluded.