Businesses have to deal with a wide range of issues when moving goods across national borders. These concern, for example: the collection of customs duties and taxes; licensing requirements; the enforcement of prohibitions and restrictions; veterinary and phytosanitary checks; supply chain security; the enforcement of environmental policies; and the compliance with market standards. Trade facilitation is about reducing the impact of trade and customs procedures without undermining their regulatory objectives. And, there are many good ideas about how to achieve this.
Trade facilitation ideas are often linked to best practice international recommendations and commitments. This includes the:
- World Trade Organisation and its “Trade Facilitation Agreement”
- World Customs Organisations and its Revised Kyoto [Customs] Agreement, the SAFE Framework of Standards, and similar instruments
- United Nations family of organisation, especially the work of UNCTAD, ITC and CEFACT amongst others.
Often practical solutions are also developed from the bottom-up by working with the business community – for example through the agency of National Trade Faciliation Committees – to help make compliance with trade and customs procedures as easy as possible. Many of the key publications within the subject have been written by our Director Dr Andrew Grainger.