What we have learned

Download useful publications on trade facilitation here.

Related resources

  • World Trade Organization’s TFA Database
  • World Bank’s Trading Across Borders interactive database
  • OECD interactive tool to compare countries on trade facilitation indicators
  • UNCTAD interactive map of trade facilitation committees
  • UNECE online trade facilitation implementation guide

Trade Facilitation Reform as a Trust Catalyst

Lessons learned Series, November 2021

The Alliance’s Trade Facilitation Reform as a Trust Catalyst study examines relations between private sector stakeholders in the Colombian automotive industry and Customs, measuring transformative cooperation between the two. The results have promise for applicability outside of the trade space, showing that trust and reform across a variety of areas – from economic development to environmental regulation – can work hand in hand to increase public-private cooperation.

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The Trade Facilitation Agreement through an MSME lens

Alliance Toolkit Series, May 2021

The Alliance’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Through an MSME Lens provides practical guidance on actions the Alliance, policy makers, and development practitioners can take to ensure that implementation of the TFA supports MSMEs while presenting an in-depth analysis of the TFA itself and how it tackles MSME-specific challenges to international trade.

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Small Businesses, Great Opportunities

Lessons learned series, May 2021

Small businesses are the backbones of national economies, generating value and employment for local communities as they grow. The Alliance’s paper showcases research that confirms MSMEs should be the primary beneficiaries of trade facilitation reforms and suggests ways that these efforts can do better at making the process more attune to their particular needs.

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Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines

Lessons learned series, April 2021

The Gender Mainstreaming Guidelines represent the Alliance’s determination to not only better understand the hurdles facing women in trade or preventing them from entering global markets, but to refine its own approaches and share its vision as a means to breaking down these seemingly intractable barriers.

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Alliance Annual Report 2020 Details More Projects, New Solutions

Despite one of the most challenging years in recent history, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation emerged from 2020 having increased its project work, refined its focus on innovation and digitisation to tackle trade hurdles, and worked harder to help the benefits of easier and simpler trade reach smaller businesses in developing countries, particularly those owned by women. The Alliance’s Annual Report 2020 details these advances.

Gender Sensitising Trade Facilitation Reform

Lessons Learned Series, September 2020

There is growing acknowledgement that trade reform is not gender neutral, thus specific action must be taken to ensure that neither women nor men are negatively impacted by trade facilitation programmes. In particular, women and men are uniquely affected by trade due to the different roles they play in society as producers, consumers, business owners and traders. Recognising this, the Alliance has undergone a process to gender sensitise its work helping countries to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement. This paper summarises the lessons learned by the Alliance in building its gender mainstreaming approach and provides new insights on the nexus between gender and trade facilitation.

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Total Transport and Logistics Cost (TTLC) 

Methodological note, September 2020

The Total Transport and Logistics Costs (TTLC) methodology measures the total cost of transport and logistics involved in cross-border trade. It is the only methodology for measuring supply chain performance that combines direct costs of trade with all the indirect costs (e.g. inventory, storage, theft, demurrage…) that traders have to bear due to delays and unpredictability at borders. By estimating the time and costs incurred in completing each step of the import and export supply chains, the TTLC can be used as a baseline tool to identify bottlenecks, estimate the potential returns of trade facilitation reforms, and assess the true impact of trade facilitation reforms on business.

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The Covid-19 Crisis and Trade Facilitation 

Survey Results, August 2020

To get a more detailed understanding of how the COVID-19 pandemic is affecting the movement of goods across borders, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF), International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (the Alliance) decided to carry out an online survey of business, government and other groups. This report compiles these findings and recommends that countries focus on implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement to ease the situation.

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Customs Measures to Save our SMEs 

ICC Save our SMEs campaign, June 2020

Drawing on the collective experience of the International Chamber of Commerce’s global network of 45 million businesses operating in over 100 countries, the paper sets out over 20 concrete measures designed specifically to help small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).  Find out how implementing the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement can help countries to save SMEs.

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Getting Down to Business: Making the most of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement  

Report, June 2020

The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement is a unique opportunity for developing countries and least developed countries to simplify and modernise their trade and border procedures. This report assists policymakers and traders to understand the benefits, legal obligations and key factors for successful implementation of each measure in the Agreement. It provides technical notes and guidelines for step-by-step national implementation plans and checklists to ensure compliance for each measure.

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Engaging the Private Sector in Trade Facilitation Reform

Lessons Learned Series, May 2020

This paper draws on the experience the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation has garnered in working with the private sector in the identification, design and implementation of trade facilitation projects in developing and least developed countries. It examines the challenges commonly faced in involving businesses in trade facilitation reform, presents the approach adopted by the Alliance to operationalise the role of business in its activities and the results achieved so far, and identifies emerging success factors in private sector engagement.

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WTO Trade Facilitation Facility Annual Report 2019 

Report, May 2020

This report gives details on the Facility’s activities in 2019 and demonstrates the outputs of this work in terms of supporting developing and LDC Members of the WTO to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The report shows clear progress across all areas of the TFAF’s work in 2019, notably a significant contribution to assisting Members to meet the notification deadlines of the TFA.

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Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation Annual Report 2019 

Report, April 2020

2019 saw the Alliance deliver measurable results in making trade simpler, faster and more cost-effective, demonstrate a new level of value-for-money in aid for trade by tapping into private sector resources like never before and forge public-private partnerships that pave the way for sustainable reforms.

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Aid for Trade at a Glance 2019: Economic Diversification and Empowerment 

Report, July 2019

This report analyses how trade can contribute to economic diversification and empowerment, with a focus on eliminating extreme poverty, particularly through the effective participation of women and youth. Chapter 6 focuses on the critical role of trade facilitation in supporting economic diversification and structural reforms.

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Global Alliance For Trade Facilitation Annual Report 2018

Report, March 2019

Just three years after our inception, the impact of our work to support trade facilitation reform is starting to shine through. Our Annual Report 2018 provides a snapshot of what we have achieved to date.

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ITC, Supporting SMEs through trade facilitation reforms: Toolkit for policymakers 

Report, November 2018

By examining the 19 provisions in the agreement that most help SMEs, hurt SMEs or help big business, the report offers insights that help national policymakers to boost the backbone of their own economies. Addressing reforms from the perspective of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) will spread benefits across the whole business community.

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WTO, Can Blockchain revolutionize international trade?

Report, November 2018

This publication discusses the potential uses of Blockchain technology and the role it could play in international trade, providing an insight into the extent to which this technology could help with trade facilitation.

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Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation Annual Report 2017

Report, September 2018

Our Annual Report sets out the Alliance’s progress in turning the potential benefits of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) into a reality through our work helping governments in developing and least developed countries implement the agreement.

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ITC, Faster customs, faster trade: Using technology for trade facilitation

Report, August 2018

This report offers policy advice to explore synergies between the WTO Trade Facilitation and   Information Technology Agreements. These agreements reinforce each other, and can boost trade. Used well, policymakers can set in motion technology-based national trade facilitation reforms, especially for customs processes.

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OECD, Trade Facilitation and the Global Economy

Book, June 2018

This book uses the OECD’s Trade Facilitation Indicators to analyse the state of trade facilitation reforms around the world at the time the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force, what progress has been made since and the challenges that still remain.

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World Trade Organization, Mainstreaming trade to attain the Sustainable Development Goals

Report, May 2018

This report identifies ten steps that would help to ensure that international trade contributes to accelerating progress in achieving the SDGs.  Among them is a recommendation to continue reducing trade costs including through full implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, and to ensure that non-tariff measures do not become barriers to trade.

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Can trade facilitation drive manufacturing FDI?

Report, May 2017

This paper examines the relationship between the trade facilitation environment and the level of foreign direct investment (FDI). It highlights that developing economies with stronger trade facilitation environments attract high-value investments, especially in industries such as auto parts and aerospace manufacturing.

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 Can trade facilitation drive manufacturing FDI?

The Global Enabling Trade Report 2016

Report, Nov 2016

This bi-annual report, published by the World Economic Forum and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, is a benchmark for governments looking to boost growth and development through trade. It captures data on the efficiency, transparency and expense associated with importing and exporting goods.

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 The Global Enabling Trade Report 2016