to Instructional Moduls #25
Facilitation is often defined as “the simplification and harmonization
of international trade procedures” with trade procedures being the
“activities, practices and formalities involved in collecting,
presenting, communicating and processing data required for the movement
of goods in international trade.”
This definition relates to a wide range of activities such as
import and export procedures (e.g. customs or licensing procedures);
transport formalities; payments, insurance, and other financial
requirements. Work in the
WTO has focused to date mainly on customs and border-crossing
The WTO has identified some of the following problems in the trade facilitation area:
In the area of customs
and border cross procedures, the WTO Agreements include a number of
provisions that relate to trade facilitation.
Of primary importance: (A) GATT 1994 Articles V (Freedom of
Transit), VII (Valuation), VIII (Fees & formalities) and X
(transparency) and (B) the WTO Agreements on Licensing, Preshipment
Inspection, Customs Valuation, Rules of Origin, Technical Barrier to
Trade, and Sanitary and Sanitary Measures.
Many of these
agreements are quite technical and in order to successfully implement
them countries must have the appropriate infrastructure and procedures.
In the customs administration area, customs authorities need both
the authority and/or capacity to conduct such things audits procedures
and risk assessments to subpoena information.
Instructors may find it
useful to have students read Chapter 3 “Valuations of Goods for
Customs Purposes” in the International Trade Centre’s publication Business
Guide to the World Trading System (1999).
In addition, instructors may want to ask students to read the
following attached documents before doing the exercise: (a) Excerpts
from the WTO working party reports on the accession of
Source: Chairman’s summary of WTO symposium on trade facilitation