Trade facilitation - UNCTAD

Trade facilitation - UNCTAD

Information dated: 2017

Trade Logistics Branch

Division on Technology and Logistics (DTL) - UNCTAD

Email: trade.logistics [at] unctad.org

  • Trade facilitation

  • Transport Infrastructure and Services

  • Trade Logistics: policy and legislation

  • Sustainable Freight Transport and Finance

  • UNCTAD Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) programme

  • Review of Maritime Transport (RMT) and maritime country profiles

  • UNCTAD’s objectives are:

  • To assist developing countries with the formulation and implementation of policies and programmes in the areas of transport; and trade facilitation at national, regional and international levels;

  • To develop long-term institutional and operational capacity to implement trade and transport facilitation actions;

  • To assist developing countries in implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement;;

  • To build national implementation capacities through the empowerment of National Trade Facilitation Committees;

  • To assist developing countries in implementing sustainable and resilient freight transport systems; and

  • To assist developing countries in the design and implementation of national legal frameworks in line with international legal instruments and standards.

  • UNCTAD Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) programme

    The ASYCUDA programme is directed at reforming the customs clearance process, and it is used in over 90 countries.

    UNCTAD ASYCUDA Programme aims at speeding up customs clearance through the introduction of computerization and simplification of procedures and thus minimizing administrative costs to the business community and the economies of countries. It also aims at increasing customs revenue, which is often the major contributor to national budgets in most countries, by ensuring that all goods are declared, that duty/tax calculations are correct and that duty/exemptions, preference regimes, etc. are correctly applied and managed.

    Furthermore, it aims at producing reliable and timely trade and fiscal statistics to assist in the economic planning process as a by-product of the customs clearance process.

    An important objective of ASYCUDA projects is to implement the systems as efficiently as possible with a full transfer of know-how to national customs administrations at the lowest possible cost for countries and donors.

    For more information: www.asycuda.org/

    Review of Maritime Transport (RMT) and maritime country profiles

    The Review of Maritime Transport is one of UNCTAD´s flagship publications, published annually since 1968. It reports on the worldwide evolution of shipping, ports and multimodal transport related to the major traffics of liquid bulk, dry bulk, and containers.

    For more information: http://unctad.org/RMT

    Trade facilitation

    Long waiting times at borders, inappropriate fees, cumbersome formalities, and inadequate or unclear rules and regulations, can all become serious obstacles to trade, and as a consequence adversely affect investment, employment and trade-led development.

    UNCTAD assists developing countries in identifying their particular trade and transport facilitation needs and priorities, and helps them program the implementation of specific trade and transport facilitation measures. UNCTAD organizes workshops and seminars at the regional and national levels, publishes relevant information and training material, and provides technical assistance through numerous projects.

    UNCTAD’s Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees helps develop the human and institutional capacities to implement trade facilitation reforms, which usually require interventions from numerous public and private sector entities.

    For more information: http://unctad.org/TLB

    Transport Infrastructure and Services

    Transport infrastructure and services, including shipping, ports, roads, and railways are essential for global merchandise trade and related supply chains. In accordance with its mandate, UNCTAD is carrying out work to help developing countries improve their transport systems and ensure better access to worldwide markets.

    In its intervention, UNCTAD is increasingly adopting a wider and multifaceted perspective that crosses modes and dimensions to better reflect the fast-evolving trends that shape trade patterns and define the operating landscape of the transportation sector.

    When undertaking research and analytical work, consensus building activities as well as technical assistance and capacity building initiatives, particular focus is put on building the regulatory and institutional capacities, developing and promoting technical skills and expertise.

    For more information: http://unctad.org/TLB

    Trade Logistics: policy and legislation

    As part of its mandate in the field of trade logistics, UNCTAD carries out substantive research on a wide range of policy, legal and regulatory issues and related developments affecting the transport and trade of developing countries. Where appropriate, formal or informal meetings convened by UNCTAD also provide an important forum for discussion of relevant issues by the Member States, public and private sector stakeholders and other experts. Detailed advice and guidance on legal matters are provided upon request.

    Substantive areas of focus in relation to legal and regulatory issues include commercial, transport law, as well as maritime and supply-chain security and environmental regulation in the field of shipping. Transport policy areas of focus include in particular the implications of climate change for transportation, developments in seaborne trade and the nexus between energy security, oil prices, and transport costs. Relevant information is disseminated through, inter alia, the annual Review of Maritime Transport, one of UNCTAD’s flagship reports, as well as through substantive analytical reports.

    For more information: http://unctad.org/TLB

    Sustainable Freight Transport and Finance

    Sustainable transport has long been recognized as a key development objective at various global forums, including the 1992 Earth Summit, the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (RIO+20), UNCTAD XIII, and, more recently, by the United Nations General Assembly resolution on the "Role of transport and transit corridors in ensuring international cooperation, stability and sustainable development."

    In addition to recognizing the importance of sustainability in transport, a United Nations Secretary-General High-level Advisory Group on Sustainable Transport has been established to provide recommendations on sustainable transport that are actionable at global, national and local as well as at sector levels.

    Existing definitions of sustainable transport may vary and promote one particular dimension such as the environment (green transport), society (inclusive transport) or the economic dimension (efficient and competitive transport). However, sustainable freight transport aims to balance the economic, social and environmental dimensions of the sector in an integrated manner to ensure synergies, complementarities, and coherence.

    Sustainable freight systems entail, among other features, the ability to provide transportation that is safe, socially inclusive, accessible, reliable, affordable, fuel-efficient, environmentally friendly, low-carbon, and resilient to vulnerabilities, shocks, and disruptions, including those caused by climate change and natural disasters.

    For more information: http://unctad.org/TLB