Building capacity to help Africa trade better

Boosting business competitiveness with ITC guides on trade facilitation


Boosting business competitiveness with ITC guides on trade facilitation

Boosting business competitiveness with ITC guides on trade facilitation
Photo credit: ITC

ITC’s practical guides can help small firms take advantage of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Small businesses may soon become big winners. With the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement about to come into force, trade costs are expected to decline by at least 10%. This will make it easier for small firms to cross borders.

The Agreement, concluded by WTO members in Bali in 2013, aims to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, and improve cooperation between customs officials. It is expected to reduce shipping times, red tape and the scope for corruption.

With 108 of the 110 countries needed on board, the Agreement is likely to become legally binding in the weeks ahead. WTO requires two-thirds of its members to ratify the Agreement before it can be implemented. 

The International Trade Centre has several publications that give business a voice in policy reform. These range from a step-by-step guide for governments to set up National Trade Facilitation Committees, to analysis explaining the benefits of the Agreement from the business perspective and spelling out how to ensure small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries can realize these gains. 

Many other ITC publications touch on issues related to cross-border procedures, providing practical legal advice, insights on what businesses perceive as regulatory and procedural obstacles to trade, and challenges to e-commerce businesses in cross-border delivery.

ITC publications were available at this week’s first International Trade Facilitation Forum, which gathered some 300 government officials, donors and international trade experts at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. See ITC’s full collection on trade facilitation publications here.

International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees

In its continued effort to support Trade Facilitation reforms in developing and Least Developed Countries, UNCTAD organized the first International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs) in cooperation with the International Trade Centre, the World Bank Group, the World Customs Organisation and the World Trade Organisation.

The objective of the Forum was to empower the leaders of NTFCs and provide opportunities for NTFCs to access funding.

The Forum covered all aspects of establishing and sustaining NTFCs, including the sharing of best practices and coaching techniques. It also focused on accessing technical assistance for the NTFCs. In this regard, participants heard from donor organizations about the assistance that is available, and discussed the challenges faced in identifying and sourcing necessary funding. 

Significantly, recipient countries were provided the opportunity to work with international donors and agencies present to identify possible match-making opportunities.

A selection of presentations from the Forum are available here.


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