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Implementing a WTO agreement on trade facilitation : what makes sense ?

Listed author(s):
  • Finger, J. Michael
  • Wilson, John S.

Contrary to the prevailing view that the Doha negotiations have achieved little, the authors find that on trade facilitation much progress has been made. This is particularly true in regard to action by development banks and bilateral development agencies to meet client demand for assistance in reform. Active private sector participation has been an important factor driving change. Many agencies have been involved in this work. The authors find that their roles have been consistent with their comparative advantages. As to how the international community can best support continued progress, the authors conclude in favor of a cautious approach to the imposition of new WTO obligations in the area of trade facilitation. On the whole, this is the approach the WTO has taken, for example, by limiting its negotiations on trade facilitation to several specific provisions of the GATT. The WTO can continue to function as a catalyst for reform. It is perhaps uniquely placed to relate the trade facilitation agenda to the overall trade agenda. On design and construction of the relevant infrastructures and capacities to spur development, the development institutions, including bilateral agencies, should continue to lead. The authors find little evidence to support the need for a comprehensive new"platform"or mechanism to channel trade-related aid as part of implementation of any new agreement at the WTO on trade facilitation. They recommend, however, that an innovative approach to using the well established, but under utilized Trade Policy Review Mechanism be considered to increase transparency on where new aid is going over time and to expand understanding of where and how country-based progress has been achieved.

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Paper provided by The World Bank in its series Policy Research Working Paper Series with number 3971.

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Date of creation: 01 Aug 2006
Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:3971
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  1. Hoekman. Bernard & Prowse, Susan, 2005. "Economic policy responses to preference erosion : from trade as aid toaid for trade," Policy Research Working Paper Series 3721, The World Bank.
  2. Luc De Wulf & José B. Sokol, 2004. "Customs Modernization Initiatives : Case Studies," World Bank Publications, The World Bank, number 14911, December.
  3. John S. Wilson & Catherine L. Mann & Tsunehiro Otsuki, 2005. "Assessing the Benefits of Trade Facilitation: A Global Perspective," The World Economy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 28(6), pages 841-871, June.
  4. Finger, Michael J. & Schuler, Philip, 1999. "Implementation of Ururguay Round commitments : the development challenge," Policy Research Working Paper Series 2215, The World Bank.
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