On invitation by the U.N. Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP), ADFIAP, represented by Eximbank India’s Resident Representative for Asia based in Singapore, Ms. Meghana Joglekar, made a presentation at a high-level consultation meeting on “Facilitating Agricultural Trade in Asia and the Pacific” on January 25-26, 2011 in Bangkok, Thailand. The objectives of the consultation were to: (a) analyze constraints for trade facilitation for agricultural products in the Asia-Pacific (b) exchange and introduce best practices on trade facilitation for agricultural products in the Asia-Pacific and (c) identify and recommend actions to implement trade facilitation for agricultural products in the region.
Analyzing constraints to agricultural exports, senior policy makers, academics, exporters, logistics providers, and U.N. and Asian Development Bank (ADB) experts at the meeting noted that the rapid emergence of stringent private standards for food products in the West has become a major challenge. There are significant gaps in quality infrastructure and technical know-how that prevent developing countries to meet these standards. They emphasized the need for regional cooperation in building capacity and developing mechanisms for accreditation of testing facilities. A number of good practices and success stories in trade facilitation for agricultural products were also showcased at the meeting. The Cambodian experience, for instance, showed the effectiveness of efforts to streamline rice export processes, integrate producers into the sub-regional value chain, diversify into new products, and engage the private sector in these processes. U.N. and ADB experts shared successful initiatives on trade facilitation for agricultural products in the region. Senior policy makers from Bangladesh, Lao PDR and Nepal presented country status and priorities in this area.
Participants provided recommendations to directly help promote agricultural exports in the region’s low-income countries. These included regional cooperation mechanisms to develop food safety and quality infrastructure in low-income countries; exploring innovative ways to solve trade finance bottlenecks for agro-exports; and helping countries apply paperless trading in the agro-export sector with the help of the U.N. Network of Experts on Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT). It was also noted that the Asia Pacific Trade Agreement (APTA) could be used to initiate pilot projects for trade facilitation capacity building.
For more information on this meeting, please visit this link: https://www.unescap.org/unis/press/2011/jan/g01.asp