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UNECE supports trade facilitation reforms for e-business in Moldova

The expansion of the digital economy and cross-border electronic commerce means there is greater need for trade facilitation reforms. While purchasing an item online is relatively straightforward, the rest of the regulatory or commercial formalities are critical for faster and efficient receipt of the goods. In other words, the goods need to comply with the government formalities at borders and inside borders. Furthermore, the need to exchange of trade data between government to government or business to government remains. Indeed, e-commerce without trade facilitation reforms cannot work efficiently and effectively.

UNECE is addressing this issue by providing capacity building at a workshop on trade facilitation and e-commerce in Chisinau, Moldova, co-organized by the ministry of Economy in Moldova and the Organization for Security Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

The workshop in Moldova focused on the changing scene of e-commerce in the country and its implications on trade facilitation including for the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). At present, Moldova ranks 66th among 144 countries in the UNCTAD Business to Commerce (B2C) e-commerce index. However, to export one consignment of wine it takes about 11 or12 days to complete the trade process inside Moldova’s borders.

On trade facilitation reforms, although Moldova is progressing in the right direction, there is room for improvement. According to the Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade 2017, Moldova’s rate of trade facilitation implementation is about 58%. The country’s performance is based on strong policy actions in institutional frameworks and transparency-related provisions. Moldova should now focus on systematically improving its performance in formalities-related measures for faster clearance of goods. In addition, stronger emphasis on the more advanced paperless trade measures is also warranted. Ensuring implementation of these measures would in turn contribute towards improving the country’s engagement in cross border paperless trade.

The trade facilitation recommendations and e-business standards developed by the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) are instruments for cross-border exchange of data between government to government (G2G), business to government (B2G) and business to business (B2B). Furthermore, UN/CEFACT’s IT platforms such as the Integrated Services for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises in International Trade (ISMIT) are a solution to MSMEs for participating in international trade by providing services related to the paperwork, transportation, logistics and even banking services.

During the workshop, UNECE shared the results from the Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade 2017 for Moldova and provided a comprehensive overview of the UN/CEFACT instruments to more than 50 participants. Representatives from Ministries of economy, finance, foreign affairs, national food safety agency, chamber of industries and commerce, donors and international organizations participated in the workshop. The workshop concluded by adopting a summary of recommendations for further improving the country’s engagement in cross border paperless trade. These included:

  • focusing efforts on systematically improving performance in formalities-related measures that facilitate faster clearance of goods;
  • bringing down the cost of exports by simplifying formalities;
  • placing strong emphasis on paperless trade measures to reduce the widening gap towards full implementation.

UNECE will endeavor to support Moldova in its efforts aimed at facilitating e-commerce, in partnership with other international organizations.