New report on trade facilitation in developing countries
The report is based on research conducted in 26 least developed and
developing countries, and provides valuable insight into the status of
implementation of trade facilitation measures covered by the World Trade
Organisation's Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The report, entitled The New Frontier of Competitiveness in
Developing Countries: Implementing Trade Facilitation, presents an
overview of the implementation challenges in the countries researched
and concludes with general policy implications for implementing trade
Trade facilitation aims at cutting red tape to boost trade across
borders. Trade facilitation is part of the World Trade Organisation's
'Doha round' of negotiations.
From 2011 to 2013, UNCTAD, in collaboration with the relevant
national authorities, prepared national trade facilitation
implementation plans in 26 countries, comprising least developed
countries, middle-income developing economies, landlocked countries, and
small island economies in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America.
The aim of the project was for each country to assess: The status of
implementation of the trade facilitation measures contained in the WTO
Trade Facilitation Agreement, the activities required for their
implementation to reach full compliance of these measures and the
countries’ needs in terms of time, resources and technical assistance
and capacity-building (TACB) activities.
The report consolidates the results of the 26 national plans and is
designed to assist least developed and developing countries and donor
countries and agencies to gain a more factual view of the implementation
challenges, including resource and time requirements and technical
assistance and capacity building needs.
The report covers: Level of implementation of trade facilitation in
the participating countries, Implementation priorities and time and
financial needs, Expressed needs for special and differential treatment
(SDT) and Use of selected implementation tools with a special focus on
customs automation systems and national trade facilitation committees
The report highlights that for the 26 countries surveyed, in general
the level of implementation of the trade facilitation measures contained
in the WTO Agreement is considerably lower in least developed than in
However, none of the participating countries had an implementation
rate beyond 76 per cent of the totality of the measures contained in the
Agreement. The lowest implementation rate was found to be at 19 percent.
The report also underscores that those measures that were most
oftenmentioned as not yet implemented, were those that require more
advanced techniques as well as those requiring cross-sectoral or inter-agencycollaboration.
The conclusions of the report (chapter V) present a number of policy
implication as regards the implementation of trade facilitation reforms
under the framework of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;
highlighting inter alia that trade facilitation remains a major
challenge for least developed and developing countries.
Less than 50 percent of the trade facilitation measures contained in
the WTO Agreement are fully implemented in these countries. Some of the
major barriers for further implementation are lack of resources as well
as lack of existing legal frameworks.
UNCTAD has since 2004 supported least developed and developing
countries with technical assistance and capacity building in the area of
To this end a trust fund was set up in 2005, which has received
contributions from the governments of Sweden, Spain, Switzerland and
UNCTAD's Trade Facilitation Section, Trade Logistics Branch, Division
on Technology and Logistics continues to provide support in this field,
presently thanks to support provided by the government of Sweden and the