Trade Facilitation > Inter-American Development Bank (IDB)

Customs, trade facilitation and logistics

Customs procedures, logistics, foreign trade regimes - preferential or otherwise - and incentives for the internal and external sectors (the “business climate”) all affect the cost of producing and trading. Promoting trade and facilitating the development of international value chains and the improvement of the physical network infrastructure must go hand-in-hand with the creation of sound trade and economic policies governing the activities of operators.

The IDB supports the development of programmes aimed at improving cross-border trade, transport networks and logistics services which allow businesses to respond quickly to new opportunities and address bottlenecks and challenges effectively. For example, assessing the impact of logistics costs in production costs and reducing trade transaction costs could promote specialization and diversification in the supply of national logistics services so that these contribute to the creation of value and can be integrated into the basic product and marketing strategies of domestic firms.

The Bank provides these services through regional programmes and/or a variety of targeted national interventions, including customs institutional strengthening and modernization, transport and trade facilitation audits (TTFAs) and other diagnostics, regional integration strategies, and lending operations for trade-related infrastructure, etc.

Trade facilitation and logistics work is not sector-specific per se but rather covers all the sectors involved in the transportation (and exportation) of goods and services.

The Mesoamerican Project (MP) and the Initiative for the Integration of Regional Infrastructure in  South America (IIRSA)

The objectives of the Mesoamerican Project (MP) are to foster the development, financing and implementation of regional infrastructure, connectivity and social development projects in the Mesoamerican countries (Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, Panama and Colombia). Soft and hard trade-related infrastructure investments contemplated in the Mesoamerica Project aim at connecting markets, reducing transport and trade costs, enhancing trade competitiveness and increasing foreign investment. The MP comprises a portfolio of nearly 100 projects with more than US$8 billion in investments in the areas of energy, telecommunications, transportation, competitiveness, trade facilitation and natural disasters. It also includes rehabilitation of more than 13,000 kms of roads, including two major corridors along the Atlantic and the Pacific. The Bank has supported the programme since its inception and serves as a catalyst of financial and knowledge resources to implement the specific projects.

The objective of the IIRSA is to improve the physical infrastructure in South American countries as a platform for development and competitiveness at a regional level. The IIRSA has two main lines of action: integration and development hubs, which are multinational territorial sectors where there are concentrations of several factors (natural spaces, human settlements, productive zones and commercial flows); and integration sectoral process, which offers a space for the identification and solving of regulatory drawbacks, as well as operative and institutional ones, which do not allow the efficient use of the basic infrastructure. The Bank has lent support to the IIRSA since its inception, through various financial and non-financial instruments, including loans, grants, guarantees and technical assistance.

For more information on the Mesoamerican project see:

For more information on the IIRSA Initiative see: