Boosting business competitiveness with ITC guides on trade facilitation

25 January 2017
ITC News
ITC’s practical guides can help small firms take advantage of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Small businesses may soon become big winners. With the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement about to come into force, trade costs are expected to decline by at least 10%. This will make it easier for small firms to cross borders.

The Agreement, concluded by WTO members in Bali in 2013, aims to speed up the movement, release and clearance of goods, and improve cooperation between customs officials. It is expected to reduce shipping times, red tape and the scope for corruption.

With 108 of the 110 countries needed on board, the Agreement is likely to become legally binding in the weeks ahead. WTO requires two-thirds of its members to ratify the Agreement before it can be implemented.

The International Trade Centre has several publications that give business a voice in policy reform. These range from a step-by-step guide for governments to set up National Trade Facilitation Committees, to analysis explaining the benefits of the Agreement from the business perspective and spelling out how to ensure small and medium-sized businesses in developing countries can realize these gains.

Many other ITC publications touch on issues related to cross-border procedures, providing practical legal advice, insights on what businesses perceive as regulatory and procedural obstacles to trade, and challenges to e-commerce businesses in cross-border delivery.

ITC publications will be available at this week’s first International Trade Facilitation Forum, which gathers some 300 government officials, donors and international trade experts at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development. See ITC’s full collection on trade facilitation publications below.

The trade facilitation publications can be downloaded free online at

See also:

Speech by ITC Executive Director at the first International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committee

International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees: Boosting capacities and partnerships for implementation