Infrastructure and Trade in Asia

Infrastructure and Trade in Asia

ADBI series on Asian Economic Integration and Cooperation

Edited by Douglas H. Brooks and Jayant Menon

Analysis of infrastructure’s role in facilitating international trade and consequently regional economic integration is still rudimentary. This original book fills that knowledge gap by exploring relevant concepts, measurement issues, aspects of the implementation of trade-related infrastructure facilities and their impacts on poverty, trade, investment and macroeconomic balances.

Chapter 3: Trade Facilitation: What, Why, How, Where and When?

Philippa Dee, Christopher Findlay and Richard Pomfret

Subjects: asian studies, asian development, asian economics, development studies, asian development, development economics, economics and finance, asian economics, development economics


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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