ICC Document & publication

Capacity building to improve trade facilitation

Business as well as governments and international organizations have been involved in capacity building related to cross border transactions and customs issues for some time. As new focus and new resources are now being brought to this issue, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) considers it timely to review the essential elements to ensure positive results.

A large proportion of the funding and technical assistance has been undertaken in the form of isolated projects and not part of a coherent improvement process using recognized best practices. As a result, improvements in the management and control of international trade have not progressed as much as might have been expected, considering the resources that have been applied to capacity building.

Capacity building to improve trade facilitation in cross-border transactions is currently commanding a higher priority in response to a number of reinforcing developments:

  • the World Trade Organization (WTO) Doha Development Agenda commits WTO members to “ensuring adequate technical assistance and support for capacity building in this area,” which is part of the broader commitment to technical assistance and capacity building for trade-related purposes in this negotiation;
  • the World Bank has recognized that trade facilitation is important to achieve trade benefits that address the Bank’s objective of reducing world poverty;
  • the World Customs Organization (WCO) has identified capacity building as an important component to improve the security and facilitation of the goods supply chain;
  • capacity building will be needed to implement the WCO’s revised Kyoto Convention to simplify customs procedures;
  • WTO is already coordinating technical assistance to improve implementation of the WTO Valuation Agreement.