IDEAS home Printed from
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Policy and performance in customs : evaluating the trade facilitation agreement


  • Hillberry,Russell Henry
  • Zhang,Xiaohui
  • Hillberry,Russell Henry
  • Zhang,Xiaohui


The 2013 World Trade Organization ministerial in Bali produced a comprehensive framework agreement on trade facilitation. If fully implemented, the agreement should increase the speed and reduce the cost of moving goods across international borders. But which reforms are most likely to improve these outcomes, how much improvement should be expected, and what might such improvements be worth? This paper adopts the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development's trade facilitation indicators as quantitative descriptions of trade facilitation policy. It estimates the impact of the indicators and other variables on the time necessary to clear customs, the associated cost, and a customs performance index. Of the 12 policy bundles, the good governance and impartiality indicator is most clearly related to customs clearance time. A move to best practice in all policies by all World Trade Organization members would reduce the predicted time spent in customs by an average of 1.6 days for imports and 2 days for exports. Using a conservative estimate of the value of time in trade, such comprehensive reforms imply a mean tariff equivalent reduction of 0.9 percentage points on imports and 1.2 percentage points on exports. The same estimates are used to calculate welfare gains of policy reform by World Trade Organization members. Reform in China alone accounts for roughly one-fourth of the global benefits from the Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Suggested Citation

  • Hillberry,Russell Henry & Zhang,Xiaohui & Hillberry,Russell Henry & Zhang,Xiaohui, 2015. "Policy and performance in customs : evaluating the trade facilitation agreement," Policy Research Working Paper Series 7211, The World Bank.
  • Handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7211

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL:
    Download Restriction: no


    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.

    Cited by:

    1. Fontagné, Lionel & Orefice, Gianluca & Piermartini, Roberta, 2016. "Making (small) firms happy: The heterogeneous effect of trade facilitation measures," WTO Staff Working Papers ERSD-2016-03, World Trade Organization (WTO), Economic Research and Statistics Division.
    2. Utsav Kumar & Ben Shepherd & Roselle Dime, 2018. "Trade Costs, Time, and Supply Chain Reliability," Working Papers id:12826, eSocialSciences.
    3. Christian Volpe Martincus, 2016. "Out of the Border Labyrinth: An Assessment of Trade Facilitation Initiatives in Latin America and the Caribbean," IDB Publications (Books), Inter-American Development Bank, number 96856, February.
    4. Beckman, Jayson & Dyck, John & Heerman, Kari, 2017. "The Global Landscape of Agricultural Trade, 1995-2014," Economic Information Bulletin 265270, United States Department of Agriculture, Economic Research Service.
    5. repec:idb:idbbks:7994 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Bernard Hoekman & Dominique Njinkeu, 2017. "Integrating Africa: Some Trade Policy Research Priorities and Challenges," RSCAS Working Papers 2017/43, European University Institute.


    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:wbk:wbrwps:7211. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Roula I. Yazigi). General contact details of provider: .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.