Recognising that neither governments nor the private sector could deliver on the full potential of trade facilitation on their own – the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, a collaboration of international organisations, governments and businesses, was launched by the Forum in December 2015 at the WTO’s 10th ministerial conference in Nairobi.
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a public-private partnership for trade-led growth, run by the World Economic Forum, the Center for International Private Enterprise and the International Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit.
Since it was founded, the Global Alliance has made cross-border trade simpler, faster and more cost-effective. It is the first initiative to provide a global platform to leverage business expertise and resources to implement customs and border reforms.
"This (Alliance) was the first time we have worked with the public sector in this way – not just responding to consultations but sitting around a table with the public sector, other businesses and my head of ocean freight and head of road freight to really deep-dive into the weighing process in Morocco, the issues are we facing and our ideas for addressing them."
Worldwide, more than 50% of trade is subject to some form of red-tape at borders, with the average customs transaction involving 30 parties, 40 documents and 200 data elements.
There is a pressing need to remove trade barriers worldwide. When trade is easier, more trade happens – unlocking investment and growth benefits for all.
“Getting engaged in the trade facilitation discussion is very important for business. In many cases business has the solutions that government needs, business knows what will work and also has the technical capacity to help deliver change.”
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is helping governments in developing and least-developed countries to implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The Alliance is funded by the governments of the United States, Canada, the United Kingdom, Australia, Germany and Denmark with businesses contributing resources and expertise in-kind. It creates an environment where businesses can trade more easily, with predictable procedures, streamlined regulations and modern automation. This leads to increased trade and investment, which unlocks inclusive economic growth and poverty reduction.
To date, the Alliance has contributed to the implementation of one of the greatest global trade agreements in two decades, new understanding of trade facilitation needs across the world and ongoing border management reform activities in over a dozen developing country trade hubs.
Initial concrete outcomes include a reduction in unnecessary inspections, faster processing times and legal and administrative improvements in international trade.
An example of the Alliance’s impact comes from Colombia, where the Alliance worked with the National Food and Drug Surveillance Institute to focus physical inspections on priority shipments, eliminating 20,000 inspections and saving $8 million in the first 18 months of operation. By generating $29 in savings for every $1 spent, the project demonstrated how governments, aid organizations and business can work together to get things done faster, better and more reasonably.
“The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is supporting developing-country governments. It is driving both top-down and bottom-up reforms aimed at positioning their economies to capitalize more widely on international trade and investment opportunities. The private sector can play a vital role in helping to shape policy and other improvements in an enabling environment so that they have the greatest real-world impact.”
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation is part of the Forum’s Platform for Shaping the Future of Trade and Global Economic Interdependence. This Platform modernizes international rules, national policies and behind-the-border trade facilitation strategies with the aim of strengthening trade and investment flows globally, in a rules-based system for the benefit of all.
Companies can join our initiative as partners and contribute their resources, actively participate in projects run by the Alliance, and share their expertise.