Trade Facilitation > International Trade Centre (ITC)

Reducing transaction costs for business

ITC’s Trade Facilitation programme aims to increase the competitiveness of the private sector by building export capacity, reducing trade transaction costs and deepening regional integration. The organization focuses on two specific areas: (i) Supporting exporting SMEs to comply with customs, border and transit formalities and (ii) developing private sector capacity in trade facilitation and trade logistics services to enable exporters to comply with the requirements of international markets.

An example of ITC’s trade facilitation services in practice is a recent programme targeting informal cross-border traders. Many of the informal cross-border traders actively transporting goods between the border regions in Eastern and Southern Africa are women. Because of the informal nature of their business, risks are high. In 2011, ITC launched a programme to facilitate cross-border trading between Uganda and Rwanda and help informal traders convert to formal SME status. A network of trade facilitation practitioners on both sides of the border created a simpler, speedier, transparent and more predictable trading environment for women cross-border traders, enabling these entrepreneurs to better exploit export opportunities. The success of this programme has encouraged the development of a larger initiative.

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