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Trade Costs and Facilitation

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Feature Story

APEC First Senior Officials' Meeting Opened in China and New Analysis on Transport Infrastructure from the Trade and International Integration Research Group

The 2014 APEC Senior Officials’ Meeting took place in Ningbo on 27-28 February, 2014 to explore the development of a post-Bali work plan on concluding a global trade facilitation agreement. The WB Development Economics Research Group has been working with APEC on a new analysis on supply chains and trade in the region. Two new reports have been prepared by the DECTI for APEC. The two report summaries are posted HERE. The objectives of the meetings were to strengthen regional economic integration and formulate a road map to a Free Trade Area of the Asia-Pacific. Senior Officials focused on three priority areas:

1. Advancing Regional Economic Integration;
2. Promoting Innovative Development, Economic Reform and Growth;
3. Strengthening Comprehensive Connectivity and Infrastructure Development.

APEC in China
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About the Project

This project is a component of a new Multi-donor Trust Fund for Trade at the World Bank. It is dedicated to expanding knowledge about the relationships between trade costs and private sector growth and export competitiveness in developing countries. A major focus is on exploring the dynamic gains associated with lowering trade costs and identifying the relative importance of reform measures in areas such as: customs, regulatory reform, standards harmonization, infrastructure investment, and the diffusion of information technologies. The project output also directly contributes to informing the Bank’s trade-related operations and policy work. More information 

  • Do Foreign Product Standards Matter? Impact on Costs for Developing Country Exporters
    In a recent paper on product standards and developing countries, the authors show that standards do matter in trade. The authors estimate the impact on production costs of firms in developing countries from conforming to regulations imposed by major importing countries.
  • Trade Facilitation in South Asia
    The purpose of this paper is to discuss the progress and challenges of South Asia in trade liberalization and facilitation. Thus this study demonstrates the importance of trade facilitation as an instrument for expansion of trade both within South Asia and with the rest of the world, as well as policy recommendations regarding the priority area for reform.
  • What Has Research Done for You Lately?
    World Bank research on trade facilitation has had a direct impact both policy and capacity building through operations. Examples of impact on operations and policy dialogue from our work lately. 
  • The Role of Trade Facilitation in Promoting Economic Recovery in Europe
    In a recent blog post for the Big Think, Lead Economist John S. Wilson presents empirical evidence suggesting that trade facilitation can provide significant economic benefits for EU countries and can act as an engine of cohesion and strength.

  • Previous Highlights >>
Videos and Multimedia



Climate Change: How does it Relate to Trade and Standards? 
John Wilson, Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group of the Bank, delivered a presentation on March 7, 2012 discussing the impact of climate change and trade on food safety and sanitary and phytosanitary standards. The presentation, delivered via video was prepared for The Impact of Climate Change on Food Safety Conference, held in Bilbao, Spain. The conference was organized by the Department for Environment, Planning, Agriculture, and Fisheries of the Basque Government in collaboration with the Basque Foundation for Public Health (Elika). More Information >>

Trade Costs presentation 

Why Trade Costs Matter: Recent Work from the World Bank

John S. Wilson, Presentation at Columbia University
Februrary 28, 2012

More Videos 



Trade Issue Briefs

Journal Articles

  • “Export Performance and Trade Facilitation Reform: Hard and Soft Infrastructure”, World Development, Vol. 40, No. 7, pp. 1295-1307, Alberto Portugal-Perez and John S. Wilson

  • “Aid for Trade Facilitation,” Matthias Helble, Catherine Mann, and John S. Wilson, Review of World Economics, December 2011 (online version).

  • "Investing in Port Infrastructure to Lower Trade Costs In East Asia," Journal of East Asian Economic Integration, Vol. 15, No. 2, Summer 2011, Kazutomo Abe and John S. Wilson.

  • More Publications >>


Chapters in Books:

  • “Voluntary and Mandatory Food Standards in China” (2011) Axel Mangelsdorf, Alberto Portugal, and John S. Wilson, forthcoming in “ Non-Tariff Measures: A Fresh Look at Trade Policy’s New Frontier,” edited by Cadot et. al. CEPR and the World Bank.

  • “Standards, Trade, and Development,” John S. Wilson, Chapter 8 in Opening Standards: The Global Politics of Interoperability, MIT Press, edited by Laura DeNardis, September 2011.

  • “Aid and the Services Sector” Esteban Ferro, Alberto Portugal and John S. Wilson, (2011) Chapter 8 in “Where to Spend the Next Million? Applying Impact Evaluation to Trade Assistance” edited by Cadot et al. CEPR and World Bank, 2011.


Working Papers

Datasets and Indicators


  • Capacity Building to facilitate a 10% improvement in supply chain performance amongst APEC economies by 2015: Asia Pacific Public Sector Linkages Program

    The Australian APEC Study Center at RMIT University hosted a capacity building course from 16-18 May presenting policies and tools to improve supply chain connectivity in the Asia Pacific region. The course, held in Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam, sought to enhance the capacity of government officials to analyze chokepoints (policy impediments) causing supply chain inefficiencies that lead to significantly higher overall trade costs. John S. Wilson, DECTI lead economist, led two sessions on data and indicator work from the World Bank on measuring and evaluating supply chain efficiency. In these sessions Mr. Wilson outlined key research on the economic gains from implementing policies aimed at streamlining supply chains and enhancing trade facilitation.
    Full Event Page 

  • Economic Growth and Structural Change: Priorities for the Least Developed Countries

    The Trade and International Integration team of the Bank’s Research Group co-hosted an academic roundtable at Columbia University in New York City on March 9th 2012 exploring how LDCs can overcome economic vulnerabilities and better manage risks in order to achieve sustained, equitable, and inclusive economic growth.

    The roundtable, featuring Justin Yifu Lin, Chief Economist and Senior Vice President of the World Bank, was organized in partnership with the UN’s Office of the High Representative for the Least Developed Countries and Small Island Developing States (UN-OHRLLS), and the APEC Study Center as Columbia University. The event provided a forum to discuss the implementation of the United Nations Istanbul Programme of Action (IPoA) for the Least Developed Countries, established at the Fourth UN conference on the LDCs in May 2011. Agenda and Materials | Event Video (part 1 / part 2)

  • Past Events >>




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WPS6444Farther on down the road : transport costs, trade and urban growth in Sub-Saharan AfricaStoreygard, Adam2013/05
WPS6347Integrating gravity: the role of scale invariance in gravity models of spatial interactions and tradeArvis, Jean-Francois2013/01
WPS6309Trade costs in the developing world : 1995 - 2010Arvis, Jean-François; Duval, Yann; Shepherd, Ben; Utoktham,Chorthip2013/01
WPS6332Trade dimensions of logistics services : a proposal for trade agreementsKunaka, Charles; Mustra, Monica Alina; Saez, Sebastian2013/01
WPS6295Are the benefits of export support durable ? evidence from TunisiaCadot, Olivier; Fernandes, Ana M.; Gourdon, Julien; Mattoo, Aaditya2012/12

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