Initiative to help speed up small nations’, LDCs’ trade

21/07/2014

The World Bank Group has launched a new programme to help developing countries reduce costs and improve speed and efficiency of trade at their borders by simplifying their customs procedures.<!--more-->

The initiative termed the Trade Facilitation Support Programme, is supported by Australia, the European Union, the United States, Canada, Norway and Switzerland. It will provide $30 million in assistance for developing countries to help them devise and implement substantial reform programmes, leading to increased trade, investments, and job opportunities.

Anabel Gonzalez, World Bank Group Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice Senior Director, said the new global programme would focus on overcoming existing bottlenecks to trade, so providing predictability, simplicity, transparency and uniformity for traders.

“The Trade Facilitation Support Programme will provide very practical assistance to developing and least-developed countries to help them effectively implement reforms consistent with the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.”

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement was reached at the 9<sup>th</sup> WTO Ministerial Meeting held in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013. It is designed to streamline border procedures, increase transparency, reduce inefficiencies and improve national competitiveness.

The World Bank Group is a major provider of trade related technical assistance and financing throughout the developing world. The OECD estimates that significant trade facilitation reforms could cut trade costs by almost 14.5 per cent for low-income countries, 10 percent for high incomes countries and lead to the generation of millions of new jobs. In East Asia Pacific alone, it is expected that a 10 per cent reduction in time to export will lead to a 4.1 per cent increase in exports.