PHL trade facilitation rating exceeds pre-pandemic score

THE PHILIPPINES’ implementation of trade facilitation measures hit 86% in 2021 from 80.7% in 2019 before the pandemic, according to a global survey conducted by the United Nations.

The Philippines posted 100% scores in the transparency and formalities categories, maintaining its earlier performance, according to the United Nations Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation 2021 released Wednesday.

The survey tracks progress on the implementation of nearly 60 digital and sustainable trade facilitation measures. More than 130 countries were surveyed.

Measures covered include electronic exchange of certificates across borders, trade financing through single window systems, and measures targeted at small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), agriculture, and women.

In terms of institutional arrangements and cooperation, the Philippines improved its score to 77.8% in 2021 from 55.6% in 2019.

Scores also improved in the cross-border paperless trade category to 61.1% from 55.6% previously, and in the general paperless trade facilitation category to 85.2% from 77.8% in 2019.

The score for the trade facilitation for SMEs category was 33.3% this year from 26.7% in 2019.

The Philippines maintained its agriculture trade facilitation score at 83.3%.

The women in trade facilitation score improved to 33.3% in 2021 from 11.1% before the pandemic.

The average trade facilitation rating of Southeast Asia was 74.3%, up from 70% in 2019.

Singapore topped the region with a rating of 95.7%, improving from 93.6% in 2019, followed by Thailand with a score of 87.1% from 82.80% previously.

“Although progress in trade facilitation between 2019 and 2021 is significant, implementation varies widely across countries and regions,” Armida Salsiah Alisjahbana, undersecretary-general of the United Nations and executive secretary of the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific, said at a virtual briefing Wednesday.

“Implementation of cross-border paperless trade remains a challenge everywhere. Even the COVID-19 pandemic highlighted how useful it can be to exchange documents electronically to reduce physical contact and spread of the virus,” she added. — Arjay L. Balinbin