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Events Last update: 2020-11-27  

CUTS-ARC: Civil Society Consultative Forum on Least Developed Countries (LDC)

Livingstone, Zambia

23 - 25 June 2005

[Introduction]  [Programme]  [Papers]  [Civil Society Memorandum]  [Civil Society Statement]
Papers > Trade Facilitation, the Doha Round, and LDCs
- Nkululeko Khumalo, SAHA - South Africa
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  • What is Trade Facilitation
  • Importance of Trade Facilitation
  • Trade Facilitation and the DDA
  • The development dimension

  • What is Trade Facilitation?

    In WTO context:
    • Focus on procedures in movement and release of goods
    • Import, export and transit: simplify, reduce, standardise, modernise
    • Strengthen and improve Article V, VIII and X of GATT

    Broader definitions cover resolving challenges posed by:
    • Technical barriers to trade (TBT Agreement)
    • Sanitary and Phytosanitary standards ( SPS Agreement)

  • Importance of Trade Facilitation

    1. Benefits for Traders:
      • Reduce the costs of trade transactions (US$300bn)
      • Time savings - in sync with just in time culture
      • Developing country enterprises and SMEs

    2. Benefits for Governments:
      • Improve revenue collection
      • Maintain and improve customs control measures

    Some Success Stories

    Trade procedures cost between 2-10% of trade value
    • Costa Rica: border crossing delays reduced from 6days to 12mins
    • Bangladesh 3days to 3hours
    • Chile: US$ 5mn invested, US$ 1 mn saved per month
    • Peru: Quadrupled revenue collected between 1995-2000

  • Trade Facilitation and the Doha Agenda

    Negotiation Issues
    • General principles
    • Transparency and appeal
    • Import and export formalities
    • Transit
    • Technical assistance and capacity building

    Application of principles of GATT/WTO Agreements
    • Transparency
    • Non-discrimination
    • Least trade restrictiveness
    • Use of international standards
    • Development provisions

    Transparency and appeal – improve GATT article X:
    • Transparency of all customs laws and procedures
    • Advance notification of changes
    • Consultation
    • Periodic review and consolidation of customs rules
    • Customs appeal procedures

    Import and export requirements: revamp GATT Article VIII:
    • Reduce complexity and diversity of fees and formalities
    • Notify, bind and reduce standard release times
    • Introduce simplified customs release and clearance; automation
    • Simplify and standardise data and documents
    • Integrated border management and one-stop borders
    • Risk assessment, and profiling of authorised traders

    Transit – improve GATT Article V:
    • Simplify transit rules, procedures and requirements: critical for landlocked LDCs
    • Transit should be less complicated than import
    • Fees and charges proportionate to cost of services provided

  • The Development Dimension

    Development provisions:
    • The ‘July Framework Agreement’ firmly links commitments to a country’s capacity to implement
    • Flexibilities and exemptions esp. for LDCs important
    • ‘Contractual right provisions’ to capacity building and technical assistance needed.
    • Proposed rules and commitments both resource -heavy and resource-light
    • GATT principles:non-discrimination, transparency –relatively resource light
    • New technologies e.g automation – resource heavy
    • WTO commitments therefore need resources
    • Technical assistance holds the keys for success in negotiations

    For success capacity building and technical assistance:
    • Programmes must be tailored to individual country needs
    • Ownership and active participation by recipient crucial
    • Recipients should be the ones who identify and prioritise their needs.
    • Cooperation between donors and recipient important.

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