Trade Facilitation > United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)

UNCTAD’s objectives are:

  • To assist developing countries with the formulation and implementation of policiesand programmes in the areas of transport; and trade facilitation at national, regional and international levels;
  • To develop long-term institutional and operational capacity to implement trade and transport facilitation actions;
  • To assist developing countries in trade facilitation negotiations at the WTO;
  • To assist developing countries in the design and implementation of national legal frameworks in line with international legal instruments and standards.

Training on transport and trade facilitation

Here the objectives are:

  • To develop ad hoc and long-term institutional and individual capacity to implement trade and transportfacilitation actions;
  • To develop long-term institutional and individual capacity in port and shipping management.

Training and human resource development is carried out through transport and trade facilitation workshops at national and regional levels. There is also participation in and ad hoc support to trade-logistics-related courses provided by academic or partner international organizations. The strategic planning workshop for senior shipping management (STRATSHIP) aims to improve the performance of shipping management. It is organized at least once a year and is based on a combination of presentations, case studies, and a compute-rbased management tool. The Port Training Programme for middle managers on modern port management, jointly developed with TrainForTrade, includes an eight-module course leading to a Port Management Certificate,and provides middle managers with a full understanding of modern port management. A distancelearningversion of the port management course is also available.

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Support for trade facilitation negotiations

UNCTAD offers support for trade facilitation negotiations by assisting developing countries in identifying their particular trade and transport facilitation needs and priorities as a necessary prerequisite for the implementation and programming of specific trade and transport facilitation measures. This is done in workshops and seminars at regional and national levels, through the publication of relevant information and training material, and through comprehensive national and regional trade facilitation projects. In order to help developing countries and Least Developed Countries to better understand the scope andimplications of the negotiated trade facilitation measures at the WTO, UNCTAD develops technical material and cooperates with Geneva- and capital-based negotiators, and organizes training seminars and workshops. This is intended to strengthen national institutions in the area of trade facilitation and to help formulate modalities for an effective implementation of the negotiated commitments and coherent operational, technical assistance and capacity building in the field of trade facilitation.

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Trade Logistics: policy and legislation



As part of its mandate in the field of transport and trade logistics, UNCTAD carries out substantive research on a wide range of policy, legal and regulatory issues and related developments affecting the transport and trade of developing countries. Where appropriate, formal or informal meetings convened by UNCTAD also provide an important forum for discussion of relevant issues by member States, public and private sector stakeholders and other experts. Detailed advice and guidance on legal matters is provided upon request.

Substantive areas of focus in relation to legal and regulatory issues include commercial. transport law, as well as maritime and supply-chain security and environmental regulation in the field of shipping. In terms of transport policy areas of focus include in particular the implications of climate change for transportation, developments in seaborne trade and the nexus between energy security, oil prices and transport costs. Relevant information is disseminated through, inter alia, the annual Review of Maritime Transport, one of UNCTAD’s flagship reports, as well as through substantive analytical reports.

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UNCTAD Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) programme



The ASYCUDA programme is directed at reforming the customs clearance process and it is used in over 90 countries. It aims at speeding up customs clearance through the introduction of computerization and simplification of procedures and thus minimizing administrative costs to the business community and the economies of countries. It also aims at increasing customs revenue, which is often the major contributor to national budgets in most countries, by ensuring that all goods are declared, that duty/tax calculations are correct and that duty/exemptions, preference regimes, etc. are correctly applied and managed. Furthermore, it aims at producing reliable and timely trade and fiscal statistics to assist in the economic planning process as a by-product of the customs clearance process. An important objective of ASYCUDA projects is to implement the systems as efficiently as possible with a full transfer of know-how to national customs administrations at the lowest possible cost for countries and donors.

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Review of Maritime Transport (RMT)

The Review of Maritime Transport is one of UNCTAD´s flagship publications, published annually since 1968. It reports on the worldwide evolution of shipping, ports and multimodal transport related to the major traffics of liquid bulk, dry bulk and containers.

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