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As the Doha Round lies in a cryogenic state, it is important to recognize that comprehensive, multilateral agreement to reduce trade barriers is not the only way to improve the international trading system. In fact, according to recent studies from the World Bank and other international economic institutions— a new study published by the Cato Institute —“trade facilitation” reforms could do more to increase global trade flows than further reductions in tariff rates.
In broad terms, trade facilitation includes reforms aimed at improving the chain of administrative and physical procedures involved in the transport of goods and services across international borders. Countries with inadequate trade infrastructure, burdensome administrative processes, or limited competition in trade logistics services are less capable of benefiting from the opportunities of expanding global trade. And that goes for rich countries as well as developing countries.
By streamlining and reforming bureaucratic procedures and encouraging competition in communications and transportation services, governments have been helping increase trade, investment, and growth in their economies. And these reforms have not required international consensus to implement.
Please join us for a panel discussion with some of the world’s foremost experts on the topic of trade facilitation.