Previous Page  9 / 132 Next Page
Show Menu
Previous Page 9 / 132 Next Page
Page Background

Enhancing Public Availability of Customs Information

In the Islamic Countries



With the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on February 22



2017, developing countries are more interested than ever in the full range of policy measures

that can reduce trade costs. In a competitive global environment where countries are eager to

attract trade and investment through Global Value Chains (GVCs), trade facilitation looms large

as an important part of the trade policy agenda.

In its broadest sense, trade facilitation is about reducing what economists refer to as “trade

costs”. That term refers to the full set of factors that drive a wedge between the producer price

in the exporting country and the consumer price in the importing country. As the figure below

shows, trade costs can arise at different points in the value chain. Most research has focused on

explicit policy measures that increase trade costs, such as transport, time costs, and non-tariff

measures. But another potential source of trade costs is information costs: the fact that an

exporter must expend economic resources to understand the procedures that must be complied

with in order to enter a foreign market. Historically, foreign market entry has required advice

from local lawyers and trade professionals on issues as varied as customs formalities and

product standards. Even where information is publicly available, if it is not up to date and

complete, then exporters still need to engage additional costs before they can safely engage in

international trade transactions. The figure below shows the role of information costs in relation

to other sources of trade costs conceptually: information availability underlies many of the other

factors that contribute to high trade costs, and as such shows the potential for reducing trade

costs in a broad-based way by ensuring that high quality, complete, and up to date information

is publicly available.

Figure: Conceptual breakdown of international trade costs.

Source: Author.

The purpose of this report is to better understand the extent of public information availability

in OIC countries,, from the perspective of trade costs, and in particular to learn about ways in

which countries have successfully reduced those costs by promoting public information

availability. The starting point for the analysis is the TFA, specifically the first four articles that

deal with different aspects of information availability.

Between the Borders

• Transport costs

• Insurance costs

• Trade finance

At the Border

• Time cost of delays

• Formalities and


• Tariffs

• NTMs

Behind the Border

• NTMs applied

behind the border

• Other regulations

with trade impacts

• Distribution costs

Information Costs