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Bangkok - 24 Feb 2023

Digitalization of trade procedures, especially through the application of emerging technologies, could contribute to trade cost reduction and efficient and inclusive trade-related processes. Despite the significant benefits it could bring,[1] paperless trade systems and applications face challenges, including interoperability and data security. Emerging technologies, such as distributed ledger technology/blockchain, Internet of Things, Artificial Intelligence and data analytics, has the potential to address some of these challenges.

In this context, the ESCAP Secretariat invites interested researchers and practitioners to make proposals to carry out studies on the implementation of cross-border electronic exchange of trade-related data via emerging technologies. The studies will also be used to enhance the template for feasibility studies to identify feasible trade data and data exchange mechanisms for initiating the cross-border electronic exchange.

Research Duration

1 April – 30 June 2023 (The first draft paper should be ready by 15 May)

Research Output

A research paper on the topic with the focus on:

  • Feasibility of emerging (rather than technologies themselves, but on its practical application)
  • Application of emerging technologies for digitalization of trade procedures
  • Business to government (B2G) or government to government transactions (G2G) (not business to business (B2B))
  • Must provide guidance and recommendations on the application of emerging technologies for cross-border electronic exchange of trade-related data, suitable for countries in the Asia-Pacific region

The research paper would be in the form of either:

  1. Case studies or use cases of  implementation of cross-border electronic exchange of trade-related data and/or document via emerging technologies from developing countries in the Asia-Pacific region (LDCs are desirable):
    1. Description of the case, including scope and functionalities, institutional aspects, tehnological aspects, financial and human resource aspects, cost and benefits achiebed
    2. Critical barriers to implementation
    3. Comparison between traditional technologies versus emerging technologies (while defining critical areas for the comparison)
  2. Overview of selected emerging technologies in the Asia-Pacific region, especially in LDCs – based on literature review
    1. Summary of emerging technologies application for digitalization of trade procedures
    2. Key barriers for application (especially those unique and common for LDCs)
    3. Comparison between traditional technologies versus emerging technologies (while defining critical areas for the comparison)

The paper would be 8,000-12,000 words, excluding tables, figures, references and appendices. Format and style for the research paper will be provided for the selected proposals. It should be free of grammatical and stylistic errors. Based on previous experience, it is expected the report will undergo several rounds of reviews, and the consultant should be ready to address feedback in a timely manner.


Consultancy fees of up to 10,000 USD will be issued to carry out the research and deliver the paper – depending on the proposed scope, methodology, and researcher’s experience.

Other benefits for selected proposals:

  • Presentation of research findings in ESCAP events on trade facilitation and cross-border paperless trade, where relevant
  • Publication of the research paper in UN publications or through ESCAP regional networks, including ARTNeT and UNNExT, where relevant and suitable


Please apply as soon as possible or no later than 24 March 2023

Individual(s) with relevant expertise are invited to submit research proposals to Mr. Yann Duval, Chief of Trade Policy and Facilitation, ESCAP [email protected] with a copy to Ms. Soo Hyun Kim [email protected]

The submission should include:

  1. An email expressing interest
  2. In 500 words or less, a research proposal, including 1) a summary of the research, including scope, methodology, and detailed tentative outline of the paper, 2) research schedule/timeline, and 3) main expected outcome/finding/recommendation, and;
  3. Curriculum Vitae (CV) and any other evidence of relevant work.

Selection criteria

The criteria used to evaluate the proposals will be based on the feasibility of the proposed research plan (75%), with heavy bearing on expected outcome/findings: and previous work experience of the applicant(s) in the areas related to the research topic (25%).


  1. Only selected candidate(s) would be contacted.
  2. Considering the specialized nature of topics, successful proposals are expected to come from researchers who already have work/research experience.
  3. Candidates are encouraged to make a proposal jointly with other researchers and practitioners to maximize synergy and complementarity of expertise.

For further information:

Please email Ms. Soo Hyun Kim at [email protected] should you have any questions.

[1] Among numerous studies on impact of cross-border paperless trade on trade cost, see recent example:

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