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Trade Facilitation – Impact and Potential Gains

By Peter Kleen


As the tariff levels and other trade barriers have decreased due to the negotiation in the WTO and other international agreements, the costs of cumbersome trade procedures are becoming increasingly visible. The need for trade facilitation has during a long period of time been heavily argued by the business community to be of pressing importance. The awareness of the costs of burdensome trade procedures has lead to the inclusion of trade facilitation in the Doha Development Agenda. The National Board of Trade, which includes the Swedish Trade Procedures Council- SWEPRO, has in this light conducted an in-depth study of the impact and potential gains of trade facilitation. In this report, results from both previous studies, international as well as national, and the experiences of the Swedish business community and individual companies of various sizes and types have been compiled and analysed in order to make the picture of trade facilitation as complete as possible. The results have been significant and do not only support the need for trade facilitation, but also highlight, apart from the direct visible monetary rewards, the many hidden gains of trade facilitation. The process of facilitating trade has been shown to be beneficial in all types of environment and, as the Swedish experience illustrates, earns billions both for the business and public sector. The benefits of trade facilitation are particularly evident for developing countries and for small and medium sized enterprises in all regions. It is our hope that this report will serve as a useful foundation for future work in trade facilitation, both at regional and global level, and show governments and business that there is a clear mutual benefit to be gained by addressing the issue of trade facilitation

Year: 2009
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