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About Trade facilitation

Trade facilitation refers to the simplification, standardization and harmonization of procedures and associated information flows required to move goods from seller to buyer and to make payment. In simple terms, trade facilitation should streamline customs procedures in order to reduce the time and cost to trade -- essentially, cut the “red tape” at the border. Trade facilitation is a vehicle for economic growth, increased trade competitiveness, deeper regional integration and a better insertion of developing countries into the regional and global value chains.

The recent conclusion of negotiations for the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement– and the ongoing ratification of the Agreement – has propelled trade facilitation to the top of the regional and global trade agenda. The implementation of this agreement has been described as a “golden opportunity” for developing regions, including Latin America and the Caribbean. 

ECLAC’s recent activities in the region reflect this increased focus on trade facilitation. ECLAC has been involved in developing a regional Aid for Trade agenda, creating an Aid for Trade Indicators Dashboard, distributing a Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade to establish country benchmarks, and providing countries with support in the digitalization of customs procedures, among other important initiatives.