Trade and Investment Facilitation

Khon Kaen, May 2023– Mekong Institute (MI) is proud to announce its involvement in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) CrossBorder Paperless Trade Initiative. Under the guidance of Dr. Julian Clarke, an expert in trade facilitation in the Mekong countries, MI will play a pivotal role in conducting a survey of paperless trade practices in Mongolia, Republic of Korea, and Russia, as well as selected international countries.  

The primary objective of this survey is to update the UNESCAP paperless trade database, identify areas for improvement through pilot projects, and create a comprehensive catalog of new and updated paperless trade operations.

Dr. Tengfei Wang, the project leader from the ESCAP trade unit, expressed his desire for this program to be the beginning of a larger work program, making the project a significant step toward advancing paperless trade practices.

MI has been granted observer status to the Standing Committee on Cross-Border Paperless Trade by UNESCAP, demonstrating its dedication to enhancing paperless trade practices in the participating countries. MI’s involvement will further bolster its impact in promoting best practices.

With its extensive expertise in the field, MI will assess the existing paperless trade database, identify gaps, and propose potential pilot projects to address these gaps. The Institute will conduct a feasibility study to determine the viability of these projects, ensuring practical and effective solutions that promote best practices in cross-border paperless trade.

The deliverables of this project include a draft report, which will be presented to the Standing Committee in June 2023, and an update of the existing database. The report aims to provide members with insights into the opportunities and challenges of transitioning to paperless trade and will analyze the motivating factors for governments to adopt these practices. The Mekong Institute will actively contribute to the upcoming bilateral discussions and working group discussions during the committee meeting.

MI’s engagement in this project solidifies its position as a thought leader in trade facilitation and will contribute significantly to promoting best practices in cross-border trade in the Asia-Pacific region. Through this collaboration with UNESCAP, MI strives to advance the future development of paperless trade practices, benefiting economies and promoting seamless trade in the region.

About Mekong Institute

Mekong Institute is an intergovernmental organization dedicated to enhancing regional cooperation and capacity development in the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS). With its headquarters in Khon Kaen, Thailand, the Institute offers technical advice to client governments, capacity building, and research initiatives to foster sustainable economic and social development in the region. MI also plays the role of secretariat and fund manager for various development partners.


The United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) is one of the five regional commissions of the United Nations. It promotes inclusive and sustainable economic and social development in the Asia-Pacific region through regional cooperation and collaboration.

For more information, please contact:

Anusara Tanpitak
Communications and Knowledge Manager
+66 043 202 201

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