About the Survey
The United Nations Regional Commissions, including ECA, ECE, ECLAC, ESCAP and ESCWA, have been conducting the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation (formerly known as the UN Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation) since 2015 to review the progress of trade facilitation reforms in their respective Member States. The initiative, led and coordinated by ESCAP, supports the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, as well as emerging regional and global initiatives on paperless trade or e-trade, such as the recent Framework Agreement on Facilitation of Cross-Border Paperless Trade in Asia and the Pacific (CPTA). Cooperation among the UN Regional Commissions and other UN and relevant regional and sub-regional organizations is key to the success of the Global Surveys. UNCTAD, who collaborated with UN Regional Commissions in past surveys, has become a full partner of the initiative and will be part of the core team of organizations conducting the UN Global Survey from 2023 onward. Sub-regional collaboration have also been strengthened, e.g. with ASEAN in the Asia-Pacific region. Interested organizations, industry associations, academia, research institutes and other stakeholders, are very welcome to join the initiative.
Scope and Methodology
The survey covers a WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)+ set of nearly 60 trade facilitation measures categorized into eleven sub-groups, namely: Transparency; Formalities; Institutional arrangement and cooperation; Transit facilitation; Paperless trade; Cross-border paperless trade; Trade facilitation for SMEs; Agricultural trade facilitation; Women in trade facilitation; Trade finance for trade facilitation; and Trade facilitation in times of crisis.
The survey is fact-based rather than perception-based. A three-step approach to data collection and validation is generally followed, implemented over a 6-month period every 2 years: Step (1) Open data collection from experts; Step (2) Data verification by UN Regional Commission Secretariats; and Step (3) Data validation by national governments. For more details on the methodology, please refer to the 2021 Survey Methodology and methodology section of global and regional reports, which are available for 2015, 2017 and 2019. The 2021 Survey questionnaire is available here:
For more information, please refer to the 2021 Survey methodology.