Conference & Forum

CAREC DIGITAL TRADE FORUM 2022 Advancing Digital Solutions and Deepening Regional Cooperation for Trade

8 Nov 2022 Online

Asian Development Bank (ADB) in collaboration with Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the People’s Republic of China (PRC), and the ADB-PRC Regional Knowledge Sharing Initiative (RKSI) will launch the CAREC Digital Trade Forum virtually on 8 November 2022. The Forum is a knowledge platform, which aims to promote the use of emerging digital solutions and strengthen regional cooperation to promote supply chain connectivity and trade expansion, as part of the broader CAREC Integrated Trade Agenda 2030.

The Forum envisions to create a cross-learning network of policy makers, regulators, trade promotion agencies, private sector representatives, development partners, think tanks and other key stakeholders to share effective policies, good practices and innovative ideas to achieve their countries’ digital trade potential. The information, knowledge, and technology that will be pooled by this platform will be disseminated via the CAREC Trade Information Portal as well as the RKSI and CAREC Program websites, to generate more opportunities for collaboration with other regional institutions, international organizations and related initiatives within the CAREC region and beyond.

This inaugural CAREC Digital Trade Forum with the theme of “Advancing Digital Solutions and Deepening Regional Cooperation for Trade” will focus on: (i) key legal and regulatory standards; (ii) emerging technologies for trade; and (iii) cooperation arrangements—to demonstrate how this platform can be instrumental in accelerating post-pandemic recovery and rebuilding momentum for sustainable economic growth.

14:00 – 14:17Welcome Remarks

Yu Benlin, Director General, Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM), the People’s Republic of China (PRC)
M. Teresa Kho, Director General, East Asia Department (EARD), ADB
Yevgeniy Zhukov, Director General, Central and West Asia Department (CWRD), ADB
14:17 – 15:00Session 1: Key Rules, Standards and Principles for Developing Digital Trade

The session will introduce key rules, standards and principles that underpin the existing digital trade environment and reflect the issues under discussion among 86 WTO members that form the Joint Statement Initiative. Discussions will include WTO-ESCAP-UNCITRAL Cross-Border Paperless Trade Toolkit, the OECD Digital Trade Inventory, the UNCITRAL Model Law on Electronic Transferable Records, and UN Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific.

Moderator: Dorothea Lazaro, Regional Cooperation Specialist, Public Management, Financial Sector, and Regional Cooperation Division, EARD, ADB

• Javier Lopez Gonzalez, Senior Economist, Trade and Agriculture Directorate, OECD [on key instruments for a legal framework from the OECD Digital Trade Inventory]
• Luca Castellani, Legal Officer, UNCITRAL Secretariat [on UNCITRAL texts on e-commerce]
• Yann Duval, Chief, Trade Policy and Facilitation Section, UNESCAP [on key instruments for a technical framework from the WTO-ESCAP-UNCITRAL Cross-Border Paperless Trade]

Country Discussant: Samson Uridia, Head, Department of International Relations, Georgia Revenue Service
15:00 – 15:40Session 2: New Trends and Technologies Transforming Trade

Digital technologies empower businesses to participate in global trade with much lower barriers to entry. The continuous improvement of digital infrastructure and technologies will help further remove the major constraints in logistics and payments that affect cross-border trade. Government policies could do more to facilitate this digital transformation and provide a more enabling environment for digital trade.

Moderator: Yuping Zhu, First Secretary, MOFCOM, PRC

• Xuan Lifang, Director, Electronic World Trade Platform, Alibaba Group
• Wang Yaqiang, General Manager, Urumqi Cross-border e-Commerce Public Service Co., Ltd. [New Development Trends of E-Commerce in the Age of Digital Economy]
• Jin Tao, Chief Executive Officer, Xinjiang Electronic Port Co., Ltd. [Exploration and Practice of Digital Silkroad]
15:40 – 16:50 Session 3: Digital Cooperation and Innovative Arrangements in Digital Trade

Moderator: Saad Paracha, Unit Head, CAREC Secretariat and Senior Regional Cooperation Specialist, Regional Cooperation and Operations Coordination Division, CWRD

Part I: Among governments
Regional trade agreements have played an important role in developing rules for digital trade. Innovative governments are modernizing rules and tackling digital policy fragmentation through digital economy agreements, which are comprehensive digital-only agreements that establish trade rules and facilitate interoperability between economies. These encourage domestic regulatory reforms and soft cross-border collaboration on wide-ranging issues and are particularly beneficial to small and medium-sized enterprises. The Digital Economy Partnership Agreement (DEPA) between Chile, New Zealand, and Singapore, is the first digital-only trade agreement open to all WTO members. DEPA has gained the attention of some large economies with Canada, the PRC, and the Republic of Korea applying to join.

• Deborah Elms, Founder and Executive Director, Asian Trade Centre [on CPTPP, DEPA, DEA, and important trends in digital trade]
• Cecile Barayre-El Shami, Chief, Digital Economy Capacity-Building Section, Technology and Logistics Division, UNCTAD [on eTrade for all Initiative and eTrade Readiness Assessments]

Country Discussant: Ruslan Urazaliyev, Deputy Director, Department of Digitalization, Ministry of Trade and Integration, Kazakhstan

Part II: Between public-private entities and research institutions
Digital partnerships bring public and private sector and think tanks together to advance digital solutions and accelerate safe and inclusive digital transformation in developing countries.

Moderator: ADB

• Hannah Nguyen, Director, Digital Ecosystems, International Chamber of Commerce Digital Standards Initiative [on ICC initiatives for digital trade]
• Francis Lopez, President and CEO, InterCommerce Network Services, Inc. [on Pan-Asian E-Commerce Alliance]
• Michael Minges, Digital Inclusion Research Lead, World Benchmarking Alliance [on collaboration to improve data infrastructure, e.g., data centers, cloud networks, internet exchange points]
• Asif Razzaq, Consultant, CAREC Institute

Country Discussant: Aisha Humera Chaudhary, Additional Secretary, Ministry of Information Technology and Telecommunication, Pakistan
16:50 – 17:00Closing Remarks

Emma Fan, Director, Public Management, Financial Sector, and Regional Cooperation Division, EARD, ADB

Ning Chen, Deputy Director General, MOFCOM, PRC

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