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Enhancing Public Availability of Customs Information

In the Islamic Countries


Based on a rigorous review of the available data, the report finds that although higher income

countries tend to perform better in terms of public information availability related to Customs

and trade, there are also important instances of low and middle income countries that have

taken important steps forward. Indeed, the fastest relative rate of improvement in this area is in

low income countries in terms of World Bank income groups, and in Sub-Saharan Africa in terms

of geographical regions. There is widespread evidence of performance improvements on a broad

basis, despite differences in outcomes according to the data source used.

With the OIC, the data reveal a considerable degree of heterogeneity both across the three

regional groups, but also across countries within each group. There are instances of strong

performers within the Organization relative to the global best practice frontier, such as Malaysia,

the UAE, and Morocco. But numerous other countries show a considerable distance between

their current level of performance and international best practice, which is proxied throughout

the report by Singapore, an acknowledged leader in trade facilitation and logistics.

Building on the data review, the report presents two types of case studies. First, Singapore,

Malaysia, the UAE, and Mexico are studied using desk research. The studies show that each of

these countries is a strong performer in terms of the public availability of Customs and trade

information, and that there are some commonalities among them that are retained in the

report’s findings. Use of information and communication technologies (ICTs), and integration of

trade information portals with virtual Single Windows, are common approaches to reducing the

informational costs associated with international trade transactions.

The second type of case study is based on field visits. The countries visited were Senegal (African

Group), Morocco (Arab Group), and Bangladesh (Asian Group). These countries have different

income levels and economic structures, as do the desk review case studies, but they show that

even in a low or middle income environment, it is possible to take important strides forward on

the public availability of information, in particular by using ICTs. Morocco in particular stands

out as a high performer in this area within the OIC, as it has successfully brought together the

trade community—including the private and public sectors—to support an integrated Single

Windowwith comprehensive trade information and procedures available, as well as a TIP under

development that will work closely with existing resources. Although technical assistance from

outside agencies like the World Bank and the regional development banks has been important

in putting these structures in place in the case study countries, there is now significant evidence

that they are becoming sources of technical assistance themselves, in an excellent example of

South-South cooperation and information exchange.

The case studies show that although performance is variable among OIC member countries,

there is a rich body of successful experience in reducing the informational costs associated with

international trade transactions. There is scope to promote information exchange and

experience sharing so that higher performance countries can help lower performance countries

“leapfrog” intermediate stages that were part of the historical development of public

information structures, and move more rapidly towards to the global best practice frontier.

Each case study contains a summary of lessons learned, from the perspective of the county itself,

but also with the intention of informing the broader OIC membership. However, the report’s

recommendations, presented for the consideration of member countries, are broader in nature.

They attempt to bring together the various experiences and provide guidance for countries at

all levels of advancement in terms of the promotion of public availability of Customs and trade