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New WTO report on trade bottlenecks flags key role of TIR
Global | Geneva

New WTO report on trade bottlenecks flags key role of TIR

18 Jan 2022 · Prosperity

The WTO’s new report analyses trade bottlenecks in landlocked developing countries and provides concrete recommendations, including the use of eTIR.

The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) plays a vital role in boosting and facilitating trade. Its key provisions for expediting the movement of goods, including goods in transit, and easing trade bottlenecks at borders are supported by the effective implementation of the TIR system.

Among many recommendations, the report urges landlocked developing countries and transit countries to adopt tools like eTIR, in order to expedite the flow of goods at the border. It also reinforces IRU’s strategic concept of nations becoming “landlinked”, as landlocked countries can be transit countries and use this potential to grow their economies.

Trade is critical for economic growth. Facilitating transport, transit and trade should therefore be a priority for governments. And as road transport is still predominant in these countries, making it more efficient along transit corridors is key to ensure faster access to global markets.

This is particularly important as trade costs for landlocked developing countries (LLDCs) have grown even higher in the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, mainly due to higher transport costs and non-tariff measures. Among other factors, the report mentions the lack of harmonised practices, multiple clearances, transloading and the lack of coordination and cooperation between customs agencies.

Improvements on the ground

Successful examples exist in Central Asia, especially in fast-growing economies like Uzbekistan. They have proved that a landlocked country can become a landlinked country by implementing efficient transit policies, using international systems and standards (like TIR and CMR) and digitalising procedures.

The report also included inspiring examples of building transit corridors in Africa, such as the Northern corridor linking several major countries in the centre of the continent. In Africa, as elsewhere, TIR has the potential to create landlinked countries, helping them accelerate economic growth and prosperity.