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Regional Policy Forum on Trade Facilitation and SMEs in Times of Crisis

Begins:   May 20, 2009 08:30
Ends:   May 22, 2009 17:00
Contact Person:   Anna Regina Rillo Bonfield

Regional Policy Forum on Trade Facilitation and SMEs in Times of Crisis - May 20 - 22, 2009Description: The World Bank’s Development Research Group co-sponsored a conference on “Trade Facilitation and SMEs in a Time of Crisis,” on May 20-22, 2009, in Beijing, in cooperation with the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP).

This unique event brought together private and public officials from across the Asia Pacific region to raise awareness of the importance of trade facilitation vis-à-vis the needs of SMEs within the context of the global recession.  Particular emphasis was placed on technology-based trade facilitation measures, customs administration reforms, and trade logistics enhancements that can be used to reduce trade barriers faced by SMEs.  Panelists included World Bank trade facilitation specialists, private sector technology experts, and senior government officials.  In total, fifteen countries from the Asia Pacific region were represented at the three-day event.

An in-depth summary and an official agenda for the event are available online.

Cosponsor: UNESCAP 

Agenda and List of Participants (pdf)

Wednesday, 20 May 2009  
8:30 - 9:00 Registration 
9:00 - 9:30 

Opening Session

Chair: Diao Mingsheng, Permanent Representative of China to ESCAP

  • Yu Ping, Vice Chairman, China Council for the Promotion of International Trade (CCPIT)  Welcome Speech (pdf)

  • Ravi Ratnayake, Director, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP Opening Statement (pdf)

  • John S. Wilson, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank  Opening Remarks (pdf)

9:30 - 10:30 

Session 1: Trade Facilitation and SMEs in Times of Crisis 
The Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy in the developing countries. However, they are facing many constraints in engaging in international trade, and these constraints may be exacerbated by the on-going global financial crisis. This session will discuss the impact of the crisis and the role of trade facilitation in promoting SME survival and development.

Trade Finance Infrastructure Development Handbook for Economies in Transition

Chair: Ravi Ratnayake, Director, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP or senior official

  • Trade Facilitation: A Regional Perspective
    Yann Duval, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP Presentation (pdf)

  • Promoting the Development of SMEs in Times of Crisis: Trade Facilitation and Finance
    Hamid Alavi, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank  Presentation (pdf)

  • Impact of Crisis on SMEs in China
    Zhang Yuli, Deputy Director General, Business School, Nankai University  Presentation (pdf)
10:45 - 12:00 

Session 1 (cont’d): Trade Facilitation and SMEs in Times of Crisis

  • Improving Trade Finance Environment for SMEs
    Pipit Aneaknithi, First Senior Vice President, Kasikornbank Public Company Limited, Thailand   Presentation (pdf)

  • Utilization of E-Commerce in Reducing Cost for Trade: Alibaba’s experience
    Brian Li, Vice-President or Senior Manager, Alibaba Group, China

  • Facilitating Landlocked and Least Developed Country SMEs participation in trade
    Ousavanh Thiengthepvongsa, President, Young Entrepreneurs Association of Lao PDR  Speech | Presentation (pdf)
13:30 - 15:00 

Session 2: Identifying Priorities and Monitoring Progress in Trade Facilitation

Progress to achieve development goals through trade facilitation requires understanding how country and regional operations operate and succeed in a broad economic context. This is particularly true today. Significant progress has been made in identifying priorities and monitoring progress in reform – but more is needed. This session will review best practice in trade facilitation operations, and indicators to identify key problem areas and measuring progress in trade facilitation operations.

Chair: John S. Wilson, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank

  • Trade Facilitation: Expanding the Benefits of Trade - Evidence from Firm-level Data
    Yue Li, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank  Background Paper | Presentation (pdf)

  • WCO Time Release Study Methodology and other tools/applications
    Shujie Zhang, World Customs Organization, Asia-Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building (WCO/ROCBAP)  Presentation (pdf)

  • China: Trade Facilitation Reform and Economic Development
    Yangsheng Zhang, Director, International Economic Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission, China
    Presentation (pdf)
15:15 - 17:00 

Session 2 (Cont’d): Identifying Priorities and Monitoring Progress in Trade Facilitation

  • South Korean: Trade Facilitation Reform in an Overall Context
    Junsok Yang, Professor, Catholic University of Korea  Presentation (pdf)

  • Reform in ASEAN and the Philippine: Progress and Challenges in Reform
    Josephine Nagallo, Director, Planning and Systems Development Service, Management Information Systems and Technology Group, Bureau of Customs, Philippines   Presentation (pdf)

  • Vietnam Experiences: Trade Facilitation and Country Competitiveness
    Dr. Nguyen Thang, Director, Center for Economic Analysis and Forecast, Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences, Vietnam 
    Presentation (pdf)


Thursday, 21 May 2009  
8:30 - 10:00 

Session 3: Impact of IT-based Trade Facilitation Measures on SMEs
The application of information technology (IT) to trade procedures is seen as an essential element of trade facilitation. This session will review the impact of information technology on trade and explore to what extent SMEs have benefited from IT-based trade facilitation measures and initiatives implemented in various Asian countries and the challenges associated with implementing these measures.

ARTNeT Policy Brief No. 16: Inclusive Growth and Trade Tacilitation: Insights from South Asia (pdf)

ARTNeT Policy Brief No. 19: Enhancing Export Diversification through Trade Facilitation (pdf)

Chair: Pushpa Raj Rajkarnikar, Coordinator, Industrial Policy Draft and Foreign Investment Policy Draft Taskforces, Nepal

  • Information technology and trade facilitation: Linkages and emerging issues
    Ravi Ratnayake, Director TID/ ESCAP  Presentation (pdf)

  • IT-based trade facilitation in Developing Asia: Status, Impact on SMEs and Implications:
    • The Bangladesh Case
      Syed Saifuddin Hossain, Center for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh  Presentation 

    • The  Sri Lankan Case
      Ms. Suwendrani Jayaratne, Institute for Policy Studies, Sri Lanka  Presentation (pdf)

    • The Indian Case
      Mr. Sachin Chaturvedi, Fellow, RIS, India  Presentation (pdf)
10:15 - 12:00

Session 3 (Cont’d): Impact of IT-based Trade Facilitation Measures on SMEs

  • The Impact of IT-based Trade Facilitation on Philippine SMEs
    Loreli de Dios, Center for the Advancement of Trade Integration and Facilitation (CATIF), Philippines  Presentation (pdf)

  • Synthesis and Implications of the Case Studies
    Florian Alburo, Professor, CATIF, Philippines and ARTNeT Study Team Leader  Presentation (pdf)

  • IT-based Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Thailand
    Somnuk Keretho, Director, Institute for IT Innovation, Kasetsart University  Presentation (pdf)

13:30 - 14:30  

Session 4: Customs Procedures and Trade Logistics for SMEs
Cumbersome Customs procedures and inefficient trade logistics are major obstacles for SME participation in international trade. The session will discuss how to improve Customs administration and develop trade logistics systems to better serve SMEs.

Chair: Sambuu Demberel, Chairman, Mongolia National Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mongolia

  • Improving Customs Administration to Develop Modern Trade Logistics System
    Gerard McLinden, Senior Trade Facilitation Specialist, World Bank  Presenation (pdf)

  • Customs Modernization in China
    Yin Liqun, Deputy Director General, Department of International Cooperation, General Administration of Customs, China  Presentation (pdf)

  • Customs Modernization and SMEs Competitiveness
    Lee Sang-Hyup, Professor, Korea Customs Service, Korea
    Presentation (pdf)
14:45 - 16:45 

Session 4 (Cont’d): Customs Procedures and Trade Logistics for SMEs

  • Trade Logistics Services: Importance of Logistics for SME Competitiveness
    James Goh, Regional Vice-President - Asia Pacific Region, International Trade Services, United Parcel Service  Presentation (pdf)

  • DTTN’s experience on facilitating SME’s participation in trade
    Kong Cheung, Vice President, Business Development, Digital Trade and Transportation Network, Hong Kong, China  Presentation (pdf)

  • Facilitating SME trade through electronic exchange of document: the case of Australian Wine exports to Ireland 
    Ian Watt, Applied Electronic Commerce   Presentation (pdf)
16:45 - 17:00 Wrap-up Session - ESCAP, World Bank  


Friday, 22 May 2009

The WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations and Related Aid for Trade Initiatives
This roundtable for Government officials will provide an update on the WTO trade facilitation negotiations and related Aid for Trade initiatives and needs.
08:30 - 9:30 

WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations and Aid for Trade

  • Negotiations Status and Prospects
    Nora Neufeld, WTO  Fact Sheet (pdf) | Presentation (pdf)

  • Trade Facilitation in Aid for Trade (AfT)
    Ravi Ratnayake, Director, Trade and Investment Division, ESCAP 
    Presentation (pdf)
09:45 - 12:00 

The World Bank Group  Agenda in Trade Facilitation: Review of Priorities and Country Demand

  • Hamid Alavi, Senior Private Sector Development Specialist, East Asia and Pacific Region, World Bank  Presentation (pdf)

  • Gerard McLinden, Senior Trade Facilitation Specialist, World Bank

  • John S. Wilson, Lead Economist, Development Research Group, World Bank  Presentation (pdf)

Plenary Discussion

13:30 - 17:00 Study Tour 
Logistic Center of Beijing Customs, Beijing Economy-Technology Development Area 

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