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Bangkok - 24 Jan 2024

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Organized biennially by the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) is the leading regional platform for the exchange of information, experiences and practices on trade facilitation.

The 11th APTFF – to be held in Samarkand, Uzbekistan on 1-5 April 2024 – will focus on how digitalization can be leveraged to enable sustainable supply chains in the Asia-Pacific region.[1] The Forum will feature panel discussions, and interactive and informative sessions allowing participants to share experiences and perspectives on different aspects of trade facilitation and digitalization, including cross-border paperless trade and transport, and greening the trade process.

ESCAP and ADB are inviting the submission of cases of innovative trade facilitation implementation, reflecting the theme of APTFF 2024. National or subregional trade facilitation innovation cases should feature either (1) implementation of innovative trade facilitation measures not specifically featured in the WTO TFA or other major global conventions or agreements, or (2) trade facilitation measures implemented in an innovative manner, such that they have contributed to at least two of the three pillars of the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (economic, social and environmental pillars), or are using emerging digital technologies.

The submissions will be evaluated by the APTFF Secretariat as well as invited experts from the International Trade Centre (ITC), World Customs Organization (WCO) and other development partners, and the Advisory Committee of the United Nations Network of Experts for Paperless Trade and Transport in Asia and the Pacific (UNNExT). 

Why submit a case?

Submitting a case will help you to highlight the achievements of your country/government/agency/institution/office in trade facilitation, and to share them with experts, practitioners, government officials and other stakeholders from the Asia-Pacific region and beyond.

All cases received and deemed relevant will be published on the APTFF website – cases promoting specific commercial products or services will not be considered. Successful submissions could also have opportunities to be published as UNNExT Briefs and shared in the UNNExT network.

In addition, the authors of the “best three” cases on trade facilitation innovations will be invited to participate and present their case study during the APTFF 2024 in Samarkand, Uzbekistan. The selected “best three” national or subregional innovations will receive an award and certificate.[2]

What to submit?

Has your country/organization implemented innovative solutions that have increased the efficiency of import/export/transit processes, or that have contributed to the greening of trade processes? Has your country/organization implemented unique systems to make it easier for SMEs, Women or those living in rural areas to engage in cross-border trade? Do you think your country/organization’s implementation of a particular WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) provision is outstanding and should be promoted as best practice? These are a few examples of potential trade facilitation innovation submissions.

You are invited to submit a brief case of the trade facilitation innovation, which should include the following details:

  • Description of the measure/project, including:
    • The trade facilitation issue/area it has addressed;
    • Implementation timeline/process;
    • Key beneficiaries and stakeholders;
    • Current status of the project/innovation;
    • Cost-effectiveness of the measure/project.
  • Why it is particularly innovative and effective.
  • Which Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) it contributes to, and how? (Note: SDG 17 identifies Trade as a Means of Implementation of other SDGs, but the measure or innovation proposed may also be relevant to other SDGs).[3]
  • Which WTO TFA provision it relates to, if relevant.
  • Examples and evidence of recognition and praise for the measure/project (you may provide testimonials from users, links and media clippings if available).  

Entries can be submitted under (but not limited to) the following categories:

  • Digital trade facilitation - Frontier technology applications / Cross-Border Paperless Trade initiatives /…
  • Sustainable and inclusive trade facilitation: SMEs / Women / Transit …
  • Green / Climate-smart trade facilitation;
  • Trade finance and payment facilitation;
  • Innovative trade facilitation measures for agricultural trade and traceability;
  • Cost-effective trade facilitation measures;
  • Institutional innovations for trade facilitation;
  • Innovations in trade facilitation monitoring and data collection;
  • WTO TFA implementation best practice;
  • Trade facilitation measures in times of crisis.

Entries must be submitted electronically in Microsoft PowerPoint as well as PDF formats.

  • Annotated PowerPoint presentation with details, as described above, of the case (no more than 20 slides); Video-recorded PowerPoint presentation is also acceptable (no more than 14 minutes).
  • Please provide links and references for more information about the innovation.

Videos and other multimedia formats may be submitted as alternative and/or as supporting material.

Deadline for Submission: 1 March 2024

Kindly send your submissions to: [email protected] with copy to [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected]

Selection Criteria:

The trade facilitation innovation will be evaluated according the following criteria:

  • Relevance of the measure/project to the simplification and streamlining of international trade processes (broadly defined here as covering commercial, transport, regulatory and payment procedures);
  • Use of digital means and channels for effective and efficient trade facilitation measures;
  • Relevance and applicability to other countries;
  • Potential in reducing trade costs;
  • Potential in increasing SME engagement in trade;
  • The creativity and effectiveness in how the innovation serves the key beneficiaries;
  • Involvement of the key stakeholders in the design and the implementation of the innovation;
  • Possibilities to scale and expand the innovation to serve more stakeholders;
  • Linkage with the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda (social and environmental pillars in particular).


  • The trade facilitation innovation must have originated from/ be implemented in one of the ESCAP and ADB members (see list)[4].
  • At least one of the co-author(s) submitting the case study must be from the national organization(s) responsible for implementing the trade facilitation innovation and/or involved in the implementation of the related measure/project described. The candidate should seek adequate clearance to submit and present this innovation.
  • The submitted innovation must be already launched and functional. Projects in the testing/pilot phase may also be submitted. However, projects and innovations in the design phase are not eligible for submission.

General Rules and Regulations

  • By submitting the case study, the candidate grants the APTFF Secretariat permission to publish and disseminate the case study;
  • The APTFF Secretariat is not responsible for any loss of intellectual property rights that may result from submitting the case study;
  • The APTFF Secretariat will verify the case studies and is not responsible for any incorrect or inaccurate information contained in the submitted case studies;
  • The APTFF Secretariat does not provide any remuneration or compensation for submission of the case studies;
  • The selected case study/innovation must be submitted to the APTFF Secretariat by the deadline.

[4] List of eligible members and associate members: Afghanistan; Armenia; American Samoa;  Australia; Azerbaijan; Bangladesh; Bhutan; Brunei Darussalam; Cambodia; China; Cook Islands; Fiji; French Polynesia; Georgia; Guam; Hong Kong, China; India; Indonesia; Iran(Islamic Republic of); Japan, Kazakhstan, Kiribati; Republic of Korea; Democratic People’s Republic of Korea; the Kyrgyz Republic; Lao People's Democratic Republic; Macao, China; Malaysia; Maldives; Marshall Islands; Federated States of Micronesia; Mongolia; Myanmar; Nauru; Nepal; New Caledonia; New Zealand; Niue; Northern Mariana Islands; Pakistan; Palau; Papua New Guinea; the Philippines; the Russian Federation; Samoa; Singapore; Solomon Islands; Sri Lanka; Taipei,China; Tajikistan; Thailand; Timor-Leste; Tonga; Türkiye; Turkmenistan; Tuvalu; Uzbekistan; Vanuatu; Viet Nam.

Winners of APTFF Innovation Awards 2022
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