ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation
Edited by Douglas H. Brooks and Jayant Menon
Chapter 3: Trade Facilitation: What, Why, How, Where and When?
1 Philippa Dee, Christopher Findlay and Richard Pomfret I. INTRODUCTION The degree to which trade is facilitated depends on a wide range of aspects of the trading system. In our framework, the scope of trade facilitation includes all factors aﬀecting the full (time and money) cost of the movement of goods across international borders. This performance depends not only on the systems for processing information about goods, but also on systems used for their physical movement. Trade facilitation is more narrowly deﬁned in some settings. For example, according to the deﬁnition currently used in the World Trade Organization (WTO) it is ‘the simpliﬁcation and harmonization of international trade procedures, including the activities, practices and formalities involved in collecting, presenting, communicating and processing data and other information required for the movement of goods in international trade.’2 This deﬁnition of the scope of trade facilitation refers to administrative processes at the border and these are the focus of trade negotiations in the WTO and in various regional trading arrangements. Business commentators or survey respondents often stress the signiﬁcance of those matters for their business relative to other barriers to international commerce such as tariﬀs. However, we present and argue for a wider deﬁnition of trade facilitation, which refers to a range of processes that aﬀect the movement of goods, including administrative systems that are related to non-tariﬀ barriers, and to the quality of relevant infrastructure (the ‘what’ question). Matters of deﬁnition are...
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