2 Jun 2009

Delegates at UN conf told less export red tape in Asia-Pacific could see more exports

11:22 am on 2 June 2009

A reduction of export red tape by governments in the Asia-Pacific region will lead to an increase in exports from areas hard hit by the global financial crisis, according to participants at a United Nations-backed trade conference in Beijing.

The meeting on small-and medium-size enterprises, sponsored by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia- Pacific, or ESCAP, concluded that bureaucratic procedures are particularly hard for smaller companies.

The Director of the trade and investment division for ESCAP Ravi Ratnayake, told the Marianas Variety that they simply do not have the capacity to deal with complex and opaque procedures.

Mr Ratnayake says recent research at ESCAP finds that a five percent reduction in the cost associated with preparing export documents and moving goods from the factory to the ship, may lead to increases in exports of four percent or more.

He added that the hidden costs of trade are high - in some cases up to 15 percent of the value of goods traded.

The forum also recommended speeding up the computerization and automation of trade documentation and procedures to slash the time, cost and uncertainties related to moving goods across borders.

Participants said small-and medium-size firms are typically not well represented in policy-making forums.