Trade facilitation looks at how procedures and controls governing the movement of goods across national borders can be improved to reduce associated cost burdens and maximise efficiency while safeguarding legitimate regulatory objectives. Business costs may be a direct function of collecting information and submitting declarations or an indirect consequence of border checks in the form of delays and associated time penalties, forgone business trade finance definition pdf and reduced competitiveness.
Trade facilitation” is largely used by institutions which seek to improve the regulatory interface between government bodies and traders at national borders. CEFACT defines trade facilitation as “the simplification, standardization and harmonisation of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods from seller to buyer and to make payment”. Occasionally, the term trade facilitation is extended to address a wider agenda in economic development and trade to include: the improvement of transport infrastructure, the removal of government corruption, the modernization of customs administration, the removal of other non-tariff trade barriers, as well as export marketing and promotion. The WTO TFA has become the new baseline for trade facilitation, with many countries striving to implement measures going beyond those included in this Agreement in order to maintain a competitive advantage in global markets.
Notably, most countries have focused their trade facilitation efforts on establishing electronic single windows and other paperless trade systems to further reduce trade costs. Trade facilitation has its intellectual roots in the fields of logistics and supply chain management. Trade facilitation looks at operational improvements at the interface between business and government and associated transaction costs. Trade facilitation has become a key feature in supply chain security and customs modernisation programmes.
Within the context of economic development it has also come to prominence in the Doha Development Round. However, it is an equally prominent feature in unilateral and bilateral initiatives that seek to improve the trade environment and enhance business competitiveness.