The measurement of the economic impact of the implementation of trade facilitation initiatives.
There is a limited amount of empirical work that endeavours to quantify the economic benefits of trade facilitation initiatives, and nearly all that has been done employs econometric models to try and predict, at a macro, or global level, the benefits of some broad facilitation initiative, such as policy or regulatory reform. Most of the substantive work of this type, so far, has been undertaken in cooperation with APEC, with the intention that it would represent a step towards providing policymakers with a tool to assess the impact of such measures on trade flows. Fine tuning these models will be valuable in helping structure the policy dialogue with Governments by bringing to the table robust arguments that contain a quantification of the potential economic benefits from the broad policy or regulatory measures.
However, the coupling of these broader 'macro' tools with both the Trade and Transport Facilitation Audits, and other disaggregate microeconomic assessments, focusing on the allocative impact of specific trade facilitation initiatives in certain sectors, where there has been little empirical work at present, would make it possible to:
Identify the main facilitation hurdles in the external trade procedures of a given country, using the audit
Quantify the impact of clearing certain impediments at a macro level
Provide an indication of the net benefits of specific measures at a micro-level.
These tools together would provide a rich source of information on the costs and benefits of the removal of impediments, at a number of different levels.
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 email@example.com 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.
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 ...
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.
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:
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.
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.
The authors estimate the impact of aggregate indicators of "soft" and "hard" infrastructure on the export performance of developing countries. They build four new indicators for 101 countries over the period 2004-07. Estimates show that trade facilitation reforms do improve the export performance of developing countries. This is particularly true with investment in physical infrastructure and regulatory reform to improve the business environment.
The performance of Asia-Pacific countries in terms of both trade and business facilitation varies greatly. However, with a few exceptions, developing countries in the region have much room for improvement. This paper evaluates the potential contribution of both trade and business facilitation measures to trade and export competitiveness, as well as the potential gains from adopting a more integrated and coherent approach to trade and business (investment) facilitation.
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).
Many trade negotiations involve large cuts in high tariffs, with flexibilities allowing much smaller cuts for an agreed number of politically-sensitive products. The effects of these flexibilities on market access opportunities are difficult to predict, creating particular problems for developing countries in assessing whether to support a proposed agreement.
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.
The onset of the global economic crisis has led to a slump in global demand. However, the extent to which major trading powers have reduced their imports has differed by trading partner. Like financial contagion, could it be the case that countries that are better integrated in the global trading system via efficient trade facilitation environment suffered the most because of their interconnectedness? Using recent data from the US census bureau, this study finds that the efficiency of the trade facilitation environment actually helped to mitigate the effects of the global slump in demand.
The authors estimate the impact of aggregate indicators of “soft” and “hard” infrastructure on the export performance of developing countries. They build four new indicators for 101 countries over the period 2004-07. Estimates show that trade facilitation reforms do improve the export performance of developing countries. This is particularly true with investment in physical infrastructure and regulatory reform to improve the business environment.
As tariffs and non-tariff barriers (NTBs) fall attention has shifted to trade facilitation, both in the WTO and in regional arrangements such as ASEAN or APEC. Economists have, however, been slow to develop convincing measures of trade costs. Commonly cited estimates of the border effect or of trade costs are huge, but flawed. The gap between CIF and FOB values of trade is the best aggregate measure, but suffers from lack of consistent data.
This paper uses a new methodology to provide some first evidence on the overall level of trade costs in APEC and ASEAN. On average, APEC member economies have met the Shanghai target of a 5% reduction in trade costs over five years, but only just. Performance of individual member economies varies substantially, and in some cases is far below the Shanghai target. ASEAN member countries have also experienced some declines in trade costs, but generally to a lesser extent than in APEC. In both groups, tariff reductions have played an important role in reducing overall trade costs.
This paper addresses four issues. First, Section 2 provides a broad review of the types of costs addressed under TF and how these relate to trade, and second,considers evidence on the effects of improvements in TF (e.g. on trade flows or revenue efficiency). Third, Section 3 gives some examples of particular measures to improve TF, illustrating how effective such reforms can be, typically increasing revenue and collection efficiency and reducing Customs clearance times.
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.
This paper briefly reviews new indices of trade restrictiveness and trade facilitation that have been developed at the World Bank. The paper also compares the trade impact of different types of trade restrictions applied at the border with the effects of domestic policies that affect trade costs. Based on a gravity regression framework, the analysis suggests that tariffs and non-tariff measures continue to be a significant source of trade restrictiveness for low-income countries despite preferential access programs.
This paper reviews data and research on trade costs for Sub-Saharan African countries. It focuses on: border-related costs, transport costs, costs related to behind-the border issues, and the costs of compliance with rules of origin specific to preferential trade agreements. Trade costs are, on average, higher for African countries than for other developing countries. Using gravity-model estimates, the authors compute ad-valorem equivalents of improvements in trade indicators for a sample of African countries.
Based on a detailed empirical study, this paper argues that regional liberalization of trucking services has had an important effect on transport costs and tariffs for Zambia’s economy. Zambia is a peculiar example in Southern Africa as it benefits from relatively low transport costs compared with other landlocked countries in Africa. This is mainly because of competition between Zambian and other regional, mainly South African, operators and because of South African investments in Zambia’s trucking industry.