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Trade Costs and Facilitation

About the Project | Highlights | Sub-Topics | Multimedia | Publications | Datasets | Events 

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Feature Story

Wilson, Hufbauer and Vieiro on Boosting Trade Through Trade Facilitation

Wilson, Hufbauer and Vieiro on Boosting Trade Through Trade FacilitationTrade facilitation matters!  Economists celebrate trade not only because they love watching ships cross the Pacific and cargo planes land at Paris Charles-de-Gaulle but also because increased trade demonstrably raises income and improves living standards. In this article, John Wilson, Lead Economist in the Development Economics Research Group at the World Bank, and Gary Clyde Hufbauer and Martin Vieiro, both of the Peterson Institute, argue that a powerful way to boost trade is by focusing on trade facilitation, i.e. improving both hard infrastructure like ports and railways, and soft infrastructure such as shipping logistics. Read the full column here

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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 








  • The World Bank and APEC collaborate to improve trade facilitation in the Asia-Pacific
    At the 20th APEC Economic Leaders’ Summit held in September in Vladivostok, Russia, APEC Leaders reaffirmed their commitment to improving commercial relationships and strengthening economic integration in the region – with a goal achieving a 10% supply-chain performance improvement by 2015.  The World Bank is pleased to be deepening its collaboration with APEC Member Countries to help the region achieve its goal through targeted trade facilitation reforms. Read More>> 

  • 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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WPS6224Facilitating international production networks : the role of trade logisticsSaslavsky, Daniel; Shepherd, Ben2012/10
WPS6126A global perspective on effectiveness of aid for tradeBerrittella, Maria; Zhang, Jian2012/07
WPS5976Food standards and exports : evidence from ChinaMangelsdorf, Axel; Portugal-Perez, Alberto; Wilson, John S.2012/02
WPS5728Aid to the services sector : does it affect manufacturing exports ?Ferro, Esteban; Portugal-Perez, Alberto; Wilson, John S.2011/07
WPS5546Foreign aid and business bottlenecks : a study of aid effectivenessFerro, Esteban; Wilson, John S.2011/01

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