Prof. Xue presented at UNNExT Expert Group Meeting on CPTA

The UNNExT Expert Group Meeting on Developing a Legal Guide for Cross-border Paperless Trade was held on 15 January 2024. The Meeting was organized by the UNESCAP in response to the the Decision of the Parties to the Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (CPTA) during the 2nd Meeting of the Standing Committee. According to the report, the Standing Committee requested the secretariat prepare a draft guide on engaging in cross-border paperless trade taking into account regional and international laws and regulations and best practices as appropriate. The draft guide will be presented at the next regular session of the Standing Committee for its review and consideration in June 2024. The Legal Guide is being developed by the UNNExT Experts and other invited participants. A concept note for the Legal Guide encompassing the context, objectives in supporting countries engaging in cross-border paperless trade, and a proposed table of contents was presented at the meeting. Prof. Xue and other experts were invited to comment on the draft and the proposed Guide.

Prof. Xue who had been engaged in the whole formation process of CPTA (from early consultation, negotiation to drafting the implementation documents) contributed the experience and institutional memories that would be valuable for the further work on the Guide. Prof. Xue mentioned that the Guide would need to take into account the complicated documents involved in digital trade. Transaction documents may be very different from regulatory ones with respect to choice and application of law. Harmonization of law through encouraging suitable domestic legal environment and adopting international rules and standards is one of the key legal mechanism of the CPTA. The Guide may provide the road map for implementing this mechanism. Regarding the mutual recognition (MR), which is required by the CPTA, Prof. Xue emphasized its essential role in the whole legal design. Although bilateral and multilateral agreements may be used to operationalize the MR, they are not the exclusive solution under the CPTA. The Paperless Council may delegate the Standing Committee to develop the protocol or other means to specify the standards of MR commonly accepted by the Parties, notwithstanding of the difficulties of consensus and complexity of trade documents and data.

To ensure a robust process, the Secretariat will consider all the discussions and expert feedback to promote the development of the Legal Guide and submit the draft to the Standing Committee.

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