Paperless trading among countries in the Asia-Pacific region is slated to happen in 2005 for developed nations and 2010 for developing ones. The question is, can the Philippines make meet the 2010 deadline?
The paperless trading initiative, according to Assistant Secretary Toby Monsod of the Department of Trade and Industry, is one of two e-commerce measures that the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) organization has approved. The program calls for the reduction or elimination of requirements for paper documents needed for customs and other cross-border trade administration procedures.
APEC has also agreed that government procurement processes will go online by 2003 for developed countries and 2007 for developing nations.
"The question to us is whether we will agree to these targets or accept these timetables," Monsod told officers and members of the Information Technology and E-commerce Council (ITECC) who met last month. "We have to agree to this before we can commit."
In this regard, Monsod said her team will e-mail various agencies, and meet in particular with the Bureau of Customs (BOC) and the Department of Budget and Management (DBM) to assess their e-readiness.
At the same time, Monsod's group will check on government agencies' readiness in relation to the country's participation in the e-ASEAN Working Group. Within this group, there are five working subcommittees, with the Philippines leading the subcommittee for electronic payment settlements for the region. Singapore, on the other hand, leads three sub-committees on e-readiness, legal infrastructure and technical architecture. Malaysia heads the group on interoperability.