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World Bank Report – Who’s Making it Easier to Trade Across Borders?

The World Bank released their Doing Business 2019 report in October, which ranks the world’s markets by their number of regulations that enhance or constrain business. The report analyzed the ease of doing business within 190 markets, including a metric on the ease of trading across borders. With respect to trade, here’s a summary of their findings.

Scores for facilitating trade across borders were based on the reforms undertaken by countries to simplify trade and decrease time at the border.

Sixteen countries within the EU earned scores that tied for first place in the trading across borders metric. They are Austria, Belgium, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Hungary, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovak Republic, Slovenia and Spain. Next in the ranking was Estonia, Sweden, Lithuania, San Marino, Bulgaria, Norway, Serbia, Albania and Belarus.

South Korea, Latvia and Malta set the bar for shortness of time it takes to fulfill documentary compliance when importing product at under an hour. Iceland, Latvia and the UK were commended for their zero cost of documentary compliance when importing goods. The lowest cost of border compliance was zero, set by Armenia, Denmark and Estonia.

The report highlights the steps taken by countries to facilitate trade within the last year: Kazakhstan instituted an electronic customs declaration system and reduced customs fees. Russia has prioritized online customs clearance and introduced shortened time limits for its automated completion. Turkey expanded functionality of its national trade single window, enhanced its risk management system and lowered customs broker fees.

Malaysia strengthened its trade infrastructure by increasing capacity and upgrading its management system at Port Klang. Thailand introduced an e-matching system for electronic cargo control, reducing time for border compliance.

China had improved regulations over last year. The country created a single window for a national trade administration, which includes tax and customs agencies, port authorities, the Ministry of Commerce and other agencies that deal with import and export.

India improved as well, creating a National Trade Facilitation Action Plan 2017-2020 that’s credited with reducing time spent on border and documentary compliance, strengthening risk-based practices that have greatly reduced the number of physical inspections, and improved electronic documentation processes. India has also upgraded its port infrastructure.

Paraguay legalized the validity of electronic signatures during trade operations. Brazil has reduced time required for import compliance by introducing electronic certificates of origin in Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo.

Ghana has made importing easier with paperless customs clearance processes. Morocco implemented a paperless customs clearance system and improved port infrastructure at Tangier. And finally, Nigeria implemented joint inspections to reduce import/export time, an electronic system called NICIS2 and 24-hour operations at Apapa Port.

For the complete Doing Business 2019 report, visit worldbank.org.

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