BOC and United Nations ESCAP Launch the Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade for the Philippines

In a virtual ceremony held last June 02, 2022, the Bureau of Customs (BOC), through the NSW Technical Working Group (NSW-TWG), together with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (United Nations ESCAP) formally launched the Philippines’ Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade.

Almost 400 participants from both public and private sectors were present and witnessed BOC as it took the lead in supporting the implementation of the cross-border recognition, and exchange of trade-related documents toward regional and global cross-border paperless trade.

Commissioner Rey Leonardo B. Guerrero, Chairperson of the NSW Technical Working Group (NSW-TWG) kicked off the event and emphasized that the BOC “believes that the readiness report may support the paradigm shift in the way cross-border paperless trade transactions are carried out, and how trade-related operations are modernized, standardized, and harmonized.  Further, it strengthens the benefits of having an operational Single Window system as a pivotal prerequisite in accelerating digital connectivity within the region”.

This was followed by the welcome message of Mr. Yann Duval, Chief of the Trade, Investment, and Innovation Division from the United Nations ESCAP, and the formal presentation of the key findings and recommended action plan under the UN ESCAP Readiness Assessment for Cross-Border Paperless Trade Report.

The Readiness Assessment Report serves as an important guide in improving trade facilitation in the Philippines. It is composed of four (4) areas that provide a benchmark of the country’s legal and technical preparedness in identifying specific pilot projects, capacity building, and technical assistance needs.

DICT Undersecretary Denis F. Villorente and DFA-UNIO Assistant Secretary Kira Christianne R. Danganan-Azucena conveyed their agencies’ support for the Philippines’ push in accelerating cross-border paperless trade.

In her closing remarks, Finance Undersecretary Antonette Tionko congratulated the BOC and all government agencies for helping the Philippines achieve an overall implementation rate of 86.02% under the UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation and encouraged participants to continue the robust public-private partnership in trade facilitation.

As the first ASEAN country to accede to the Framework Agreement on the Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific, the Philippines, through the BOC, fully commits to continue building programs that are designed to push for complete automation of customs processes, facilitate cross-border paperless trade, and enable online delivery of services.