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Trade facilitation and SMEs in times of crisis
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The ongoing global economic downturn has had a devastating effect on trade flows. Many countries in Asia and the Pacific region have experienced double digit falls in exports, as key foreign markets for goods and services suddenly collapsed.

In this context, private and public officials from across the region are gathering Wednesday at a regional policy forum in Beijing to raise awareness of the importance of trade facilitation on the needs of SMEs in times of crisis. The three-day event, from May 20-22, was cosponsored by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), China Council for the Promotion of International Trade, the World Bank and Asia-Pacific Research and Training Network on Trade.

Particular emphasis will be placed on technology-based trade facilitation measures, customs administration reforms and trade logistics enhancements that can be used to reduce trade barriers faced by SMEs.

Following are some of the PPT materials presented by panelists during the forum.

-- China: Trade facilitation reform and economic development by Zhang Yansheng, Director of International Economic Research Institute, National Development and Reform Commission, China

-- Trade facilitation: a regional perspective by Yann Duval, Trade and Investment Division of ESCAP

-- Trade facilitation and expanding the benefits of trade to SMEs by Li Yue and John S. Wilson from the World Bank

-- WTO negotiations on trade facilitation by Nora Neufeld, WTO

-- Trade logistics services: importance of logistics for SME competitiveness by James Goh, Regional Vice-President-Asia Pacific Region, International Trade Services, United Parcel Services

-- TRS as measure of trade facilitation: customs experience in Asia Pacific by Zhang Shujie, World Customs Organization, Asia-Pacific Regional Office for Capacity Building

-- Facilitating landlocked and least developed country SMEs participation in trade by Ousavanh Thiengthepvongsa, President of Young Entrepreneurs Association of Lao PRD

(China.org.cn May 22)

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