This joint World Bank/UNCTAD review proposes ways and means to improve the competitiveness of a country's international trade by: increasing the quality and reducing the associated costs of international transport; and reducing any possible transaction cost, adapting commercial practices to international standards, and removing any unnecessary trade barriers within the economic, social, and political context of that country. This report is organized as follows: Chapter 1 of the review provides definitions and introduces some basic concepts and criteria. Chapter 2 outlines a cross-sectoral approach to competitiveness and cost in international trade and transport-related transactions. Chapter 3 reviews the UNCTAD experience in trade and transport facilitation, while Chapter 4 describes the World Bank experience on these matters. Chapter 5 describes the contents of a facilitation program and reviews its critical stages (identification, preparation, and execution) and the instruments available to strengthen the program's implementation. Finally, Chapter 6 proposes an agenda for Bank and UNCTAD staff intervention in facilitation by: 1) reviewing experiences in project implementation; 2) discussing lending implications when introducing policy reform; and 3) discussing the institutions' technical cooperation objectives.
SSATP Working Paper No. 27
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