APAC reduce barriers  
APAC urged to reduce nontariff barriers
The Asia-Pacific countries should reduce nontariff trade barriers and focus on strengthening regional connectivity to facilitate trade within the region, concluded participants at an international conference.
The conference –Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2012- was co-organised by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) in Colombo by the end of October.
Senior minister of the International Monetary Cooperation of Sri Lanka, Sarath Amunugama, proposed in his inaugural address, developing and increasing regional connectivity to maximise trade within the Asia Pacific region given the on-going economic slowdown in Europe and the U.S.
The opening ceremony was also addressed by Mahbubur Rahman, President of the International Chamber of Commerce of Bangladesh (ICCB), who focused on e-trade for SME (small and medium enterprises) integration in regional or global value chains.
In addition, Rahman made an observation on the efforts of the UNESCAP and the ADB in supporting paperless trade for the prospective SMEs using IT and other electronic devices. Since many of these seldom keep records, transact business informally and are not ordinary users of IT, he stated that it would not be sensible to promote paperless trade for them. Instead, he suggested improving their environments so they can graduate to being SMEs with formal records, systems and IT facilities. He pledged to be cautious and ensure security in paperless trading as it involved trillions of dollars of business transactions.
In addition, Rahman made an observation on the efforts of the UNESCAP and the ADB in supporting paperless trade for the prospective SMEs using IT and other electronic devices. Since many of these seldom keep records, transact business informally and are not ordinary users of IT, he stated that it would not be sensible to promote paperless trade for them. Instead, he suggested improving their environments so they can graduate to being SMEs with formal records, systems and IT facilities. He pledged to be cautious and ensure security in paperless trading as it involved trillions of dollars of business transactions.
The forum was attended by more than 200 government officials, traders, public and private service providers, leaders from central Asia, South and Southeast and East Asia plus the South Pacific.