Trade Facilitation and SME development

Definition

The impact of trade facilitation on the development of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs).

Overview

The limited amount of evidence emerging from the Trade and Transport Facilitation Audits, so far, suggests that where impediments exist, the associated costs fall disproportionately on small and medium sized enterprises. This conclusion is also supported by studies based on primary quantitative data. The disparate impediments include: information asymmetries, both with the domestic public sector and with potential international markets, lack of marketing skills and access to suitable credits, which together impedes, even inhibits, SME development. SMEs also, by virtue of their size, have limited political influence, and frequently the national organizations that would normally represent this sector, are weak in terms of their capacity and resources.

And yet there is a considerable amount of evidence that SME development is the key to the attainment of sustainable economic growth, growing faster, engendering more employment opportunities and making a substantive contribution to the objective of broad based economic growth. A broad, well-designed, trade facilitation program offers significant benefits to this sector,which have been found to be the engines of economic development inmany transitional countries.

Where to Start

Join the effort!

The GFP welcomes feedback/additions/tools from practitioners, who either applied the GFP methodology or are using their own instruments. The GFP is particularly interested in collecting and assembling all the methodologies, survey instruments and results developed and used by its Partners.

Please e-mail those to support@gfptt.org and suggest the topic(s) under which they could be included. Or post relevant documents under your partner profile and assign them to this topic.

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Irish Minister of State assesses Port Training Programme in United Republic of Tanzania

29 Apr - Joe Costello, Minister of State at Ireland’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,  has completed a visit to the United Republic of Tanzania at which he reviewed the impact of the UNCTAD Port Training Programme.​ Read more ...

 

Geographic coverage: 
Global

UNCTAD Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI)

Countries’ access to world markets depends largely on their transport connectivity, especially as regards regular shipping services for the import and export of manufactured goods. UNCTAD’s Liner Shipping Connectivity Index (LSCI) aims at capturing a country’s level of integration into global liner shipping networks.

How to join: 

Free viewing and download from http://stats.unctad.org/lsci

Periodicity: 
annual
Geographic coverage: 
Global

UNCTAD Review of Maritime Transport

The Review of Maritime Transport is an UNCTAD flagship publication, published annually since 1968.

Around 80 per cent of the volume of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and the percentage is even higher for most developing countries. The Review of Maritime Transport provides an analysis of structural and cyclical changes affecting seaborne trade, ports and shipping, as well as an extensive collection of statistical information. Every issue provides data and insights on:

How to join: 

Free download from http://unctad.org/rmt

Periodicity: 
annual
Geographic coverage: 
Global

Review of Maritime Transport 2012

More than 80 per cent of international trade in goods is carried by sea, and an even higher percentage of developing-country trade is carried in ships.

The Review of Maritime Transport, an annual publication prepared by the Division on Technology and Logistics of the UNCTAD secretariat, is an important source of information on this vital sector. It closely monitors developments affecting world seaborne trade, freight rates, ports, surface transport and logistics services, as well as trends in ship ownership and control and fleet age, tonnage supply and productivity.

Geographic coverage: 
Global

Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessment - A Practical Toolkit For Country Implementation

Release date: 
07/08/2010
Published date: 
07/08/2010

This new edition of the toolkit provides an opportunity not only to reflect the changes in the trade environment and the need for additional features in the toolkit, but also to benefit from the experiences of the assessments already undertaken based on the original edition. In 2001, the Bank issued a first Trade and Transport Facilitation Audit (TTFA) toolkit based on an original concept developed by John Raven. This initial concept was extensively revised to give the new toolkit an increased operational focus.

Type: 
Reports/Studies
Relevance Degree: 
Must Read
Geographic coverage: 
Global

Distance and regionalization of trade for low-income countries

Release date: 
06/20/2010
Published date: 
02/18/2010

The "distance effect" measuring the elasticity of trade flows to distance has been rising since the early 1970s in a host of studies based on the gravity model, leading observers to call it the "distance puzzle". This paper reviews the evidence and explanations. Using an extensive data set of 124 countries over the period 1970-2005, the authors confirm the existence of this puzzle and identify that it only applies to poor countries (the bottom third in per capita income terms in the sample -- i.e., the low-income countries according to the World Bank classification, 2006).

Type: 
Working Papers
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Global

Time as a determinant of comparative advantage

Release date: 
11/16/2009
Published date: 
06/19/2010

It is assumed that added time to export adds cost to and lowers the volume of trade. Time delays may also affect the composition of trade and can disproportionately reduce trade in time-sensitive goods. This paper investigates the validity of these propositions using the World Bank Doing Business database and Enterprise Surveys for 64 developing countries. The authors find that in countries where there is longer time needed to export firms in time-sensitive industries are less likely to become exporters. Moreover, firms that do export have lower export intensities.

Type: 
Working Papers
Relevance Degree: 
Useful Background
Geographic coverage: 
Global

Domestic constraints, firm characteristics, and geographical diversification of firm-level manufacturing exports in Africa

Release date: 
01/19/2009
Published date: 
03/01/2008

Using firm-level data on manufacturing sectors in Africa, this paper addresses how domestic supply constraints and other firm characteristics explain the geographical orientation of firms' exports and the overall market diversification of African manufacturing exports. The degree of market diversification, measured by the number of export destinations, is highly correlated with export intensity at the firm level, and both embody strong scale effects.

Type: 
Working Papers
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

New Eurasian Land Transport Initiative is launched!

The New Eurasian Land Transport Initiative (NELTI) was launched in Tashkent, Uzbekistan, on the occasion of an international conference on the development of road freight operations in the Central Asian region, held on 16 September, which gathered representatives from UNESCAP, UNECE, Transport Ministries of European and Asian countries, NGOs and international road transport carriers' associations in the region.

Type: 
Cooperation
Goals: 
  • Support socio-economic progress and trade relations by linking businesses and approaching communities as well as nations in the Euro-Asian space
  • Turn disadvantages of landlockedness of Central Asian states into advantages by providing improved access to export and import markets and benefitting from their transit position
  • Monitor impediments to the smooth flow of trade and transport
Scope and activities: 

Regularised commercial road freight transport operations on various Euro-Asian road links

Start and End date: 
09/16/2008
Main contact: 
Status: 
On-going
Selected Activity: 
No
Type of funding: 
Self-funded
Fully online: 
No
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

Institutions, infrastructure, and trade

Release date: 
05/01/2008
Published date: 
02/23/2007

Type: 
Reports/Studies
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

Product standards, harmonization, and trade : evidence from the extensive margin

Release date: 
05/01/2008
Published date: 
11/12/2007

The author uses a new database of EU product standards in the textiles, clothing, and footwear sectors to present the first empirical evidence that international standards harmonization is associated with increased partner country export variety. A 10 percentage point increase in the proportion of internationally harmonized standards is associated with a 0.2 percent increase in partner country export variety, whereas a 10 percent increase in the total number of standards is associated with a nearly 6 percent decrease in product variety.

Type: 
Reference Documents
Relevance Degree: 
Useful Background
Geographic coverage: 
Global

The Need for and Cost of Selected Trade Facilitation Measure Relevant to the WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations: A Case Study of Nepal

Release date: 
02/15/2008
Published date: 
04/15/2006

Trade facilitation has been a longstanding and traditional feature of GATT, which is expected to have serious implication for developing member countries. This study aims to evaluate the need for and the cost of implementing trade facilitation measures in Nepal in the context of the ongoing WTO negotiation. Nepal initiated market oriented economic reforms in 1985. Trade liberalization under the economic reform was significant. However, trade facilitation has got due attention only in recent years.

Type: 
Reference Documents
Relevance Degree: 
Useful Background
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

The Role of Trade Barriers in SME Internationalisation

Release date: 
04/30/2007
Published date: 
12/01/2006

This paper discusses trade barriers that SMEs are likely to encounter in export markets and available policy tools aimed at their reduction or elimination. Drawing on recent work in the Trade Directorate and elsewhere, key types of barriers are identified based on a review of business surveys and other studies recently undertaken. The paper also explores how governments deal with trade barriers and how SME participation in the trade policy process can be facilitated.

Type: 
Reference Documents
Reports/Studies
Working Papers
Relevance Degree: 
Useful Background
Geographic coverage: 
Global

OECD Regional Forum on Trade Facilitation: Presentations

Release date: 
12/20/2006
Published date: 
12/20/2006

This page contains the presentations (in French and English) held at the OECD Regional Forum: Maximising the Developmental Benefits of Trade Facilitation, held on 27-28 September 2006.

Type: 
Reference Reading Tools
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

The Relationship between Liberalisation in the Logistics Sector and Trade Facilitation

Release date: 
12/16/2006
Published date: 
12/16/2006

Logistics services, which include activities required for the transportation, storage and handling of production inputs and finished products from producer to consumer, play a critical role in international trade. Consumers of logistics services are typically suppliers of products themselves. Consequently, the efficient supply of logistics services helps to facilitate international trade in a whole range of other products.

Type: 
Reports/Studies
Working Papers
Relevance Degree: 
Useful Background
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

Whatever happened to trade facilitation?

Release date: 
10/12/2006
Published date: 
09/12/2005

At the turn of the new Millennium international trade facilitation, in the relatively restricted sense of simplification of trading procedures, was a pedestrian activity with few political overtones. A few months later a new and elevated level of inter-governmental, and so commercial, interest was reached in the run-up to the WTO Doha Ministerial Conference and its programmed debate on an additional negotiating “package” of four unfamiliar items including “Trade Facilitation”.

Type: 
Reference Documents
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Not Global

Research, Data, and Analysis: Informing Decisions Ahead (2006)

Release date: 
05/03/2006
Published date: 
05/03/2006

The World Bank has a new research project underway focused on expanding knowledge about the relationships between trade costs, private sector growth, and export competitiveness in developing countries. The work program centers on the broad question of how lowering trade-related transactions costs -- and policies to support trade facilitation at the national and international level -- affect poverty reduction and export competitiveness. A major focus centers on an exploration of the dynamic gains associated with lowering trade transactions costs.

Type: 
Reference Reading Tools
Web cast
Relevance Degree: 
Good Read
Geographic coverage: 
Global

ARTNeT brief No6 on Trade Facilitation

Release date: 
11/30/2005
Published date: 
11/30/2005

4-page policy brief by UN-ESCAP's ARTNet on the Implementation of Trade Facilitation Measures: Needs, Costs and Other Issues for the WTO Negotiations

Type: 
Explanatory notes
Geographic coverage: 
Global

Enabling SMEs to Enter the International Supply Chain

Release date: 
07/16/2005
Published date: 
07/16/2005
In an increasingly international marketplace, many companies are finding that prosperity is best achieved from specialization, as opposed to diversification. While the majority of the world’s largest companies continue to provide multiple services to numerous markets, they now purchase many components and goods from smaller companies that serve one particular niche. As the global marketplace continues to develop, SMEs provide an effective tool for economic growth through participation in global supply chains.
 
Type: 
Explanatory notes
Relevance Degree: 
Must Read
Geographic coverage: 
Global

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