Trade facilitation - ITC

Trade facilitation - ITC

Information dated: 2017

Ms. Aicha Pouye

Director, Division of Market Development

Tel: +41 22 730 0310

Email: pouye [at] intracen.org ()

For more information on trade facilitation: http://www.intracen.org/itc/trade-facilitation-programme/

Reducing cross-border costs for businesses

The ITC Trade Facilitation Programme is assisting businesses, particularly SMEs, and border regulatory agencies, to ensure that new trade facilitation rules and their implementation reduce cross-border costs.

The organization focuses on the following areas: i) implementing SME-friendly trade facilitation reforms for improved competitiveness; ii) developing WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implementation plans that factor in business priorities; iii) operationalizing national trade facilitation committees for improved public-private coordination; iv) deepening regional integration through harmonized and coordinated trade facilitation reforms; and v) developing private sector capacity – including in women-owned enterprises  - in trade facilitation and trade logistics services, enabling exporters comply with  international market requirements.

Practical examples of ITC’s trade facilitation services are supporting TFA implementation in recent projects in the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU) and assisting women informal cross- border traders in the East African Community (EAC). In the WAEMU region ITC has supported the regional secretariat and its member states in the pursuit of a regionally harmonized and coordinated implementation of the TFA, with a view to achieving economies of scale while establishing a more predictable trade environment across the region. This involved working towards region-wide consensus among public and private sector stakeholders from all WAEMU member states on modalities for implementing the TFA. In the EAC, ITC implemented a project to facilitate cross-border trading between Burundi, Uganda and the United Republic of Tanzania, and helped women informal traders convert to formal SME status. A network of trade facilitation practitioners on both sides of the border created a simpler, speedier, transparent and more predictable trading environment for women cross-border traders, enabling these entrepreneurs to better exploit export opportunities. As a result of the initiative, 25% of supported women shifted to formal trading, and women declared having reduced the extra non-legal fees paid by 18% while having doubled the duties paid to customs for formal transactions.