UNECE and AFACT formally join hands for cutting red tape

AFACT Plenary Meeting
February 8, 2019

UNECE and AFACT formally join hands for cutting red tape

Published: 03 April 2017

The World Trade Organization (WTO) estimates that the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) will reduce trade cost by 13-14 percent in developed and developing countries around the world. The UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), serviced by UNECE, is supporting the implementation of trade facilitation provisions. The Asia Pacific Council for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (AFACT) is also committed to realizing the expected benefits of the TFA. An ESCAP study shows that region-wide implementation of cross border paperless trade could result in export gains of USD 257 billion annually.

A few weeks after the entry into force of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, UNECE and AFACT are firming up their long-standing partnership by signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU).

“UN/CEFACT is a global leader in trade facilitation through its tools, recommendations and standards. The Asia-Pacific region holds a huge potential to cut red tape and trade costs. This MoU will thus bring lots of benefits for the Asia-Pacific countries and help UN/CEFACT disseminate their tools across that dynamic region even more” said UNECE Executive Secretary Christian Friis Bach.

“UN/CEFACT deliverables and tools have been used for several initiatives in Asia and the Pacific and this MoU will empower our co-work in the region, in collaboration with other important regional players such as ESCAP.” said Mr. Mitsuru Ishigaki, Vice-Chair of AFACT.

As a result of this MoU, the UNECE standards and recommendations for faster and simpler export-import transactions will be further promoted and disseminated through AFACT and its 20-strong member countries. AFACT will be represented at the UN/CEFACT Plenary, which is the key platform for finalizing standards, recommendations and technical projects in trade facilitation and electronic business.

Note to editors


AFACT has been promoting adoption of UN/CEFACT tools for about 25 years.

It has now received legal status to act as an entity.  AFACT has also applied for consultative status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council.

AFACT Members

Afghanistan, Australia, Bangladesh, People’s Republic of China, Chinese Taipei, Cambodia, India, Indonesia, Islamic Republic of Iran, Japan, Malaysia, Mongolia, Pakistan, Philippines,  Republic of Korea, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Vietnam.

AFACT Liaison Member

United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

Associated Member

Pan Asian eCommerce Alliance (PAA).