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Trade Facilitation Comprehensive Study
2018/11/5 10:16:09 Views:


Trade Facilitation Comprehensive Study


Priority Sector: Trade and Investment

Timeframe: 2012–2015

Budget: USD 35,000

Sources of Funding: UNDP China (Northeast Asia Regional Cooperation Programme)

Project Status: Completed


Project Framework




The Trade and Investment sector has been identified as one of the top priority areas under the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI). At the 12th GTI Consultative Commission (CC) Meeting, the GTI member countries stressed that facilitating trade is a key means for reducing trade barriers and contributing to the increase of the trade volume, and they prepared for the establishment of the GTI Trade Facilitation Committee (TFC). The inaugural meeting of TFC was organized on 24 NOV 2011 in Beijing, China


To kick off cooperation in trade facilitation among the GTI member countries and lay a foundation for joint project activities in the future, it is imperative for the GTI member countries to better understand the current situation of trade policies in GTR including cross-border trade policies, Customs procedures and formalities, trade barriers, etc. Through this understanding, bottlenecks to trade facilitation can be identified, and the GTI member countries can indentify joint projects to improve trade facilitation policies.


At the inaugural meeting of TFC (24 NOV 2011, Beijing, China), the GTI Secretariat proposed the “Trade Facilitation Handbook Project” and the China delegation the “Trade Facilitation Study Project” respectively. The “Trade Facilitation Study Project” was aimed at conducting a study on trade facilitation in GTR, focusing on identifying bottlenecks in the regional trade process and suggesting appropriate policy measures to address the bottlenecks. The participants generally approved the “Trade Facilitation Study Project” on the condition it would be combined with the “Trade Facilitation Handbook Project” and completed in a timely manner. Endorsed at the 2nd TFC Meeting (24 OCT 2012, Seoul, ROK), this Study Project, thanks to the financial support from UNDP China, was launched in 2013.




Recognizing the establishment of TFC as a new platform to discuss trade facilitation agendas among the GTI member countries, the goal of this project is to lay a foundation for specific future cooperations on trade facilitation among the TFC members.




  •  The existing policies, regulations, formalities, practices and cooperation with regard to trade facilitation among the GTI member countries;
  • Bottlenecks impeding trade transactions among the GTI member countries and measures for addressing these bottlenecks;
  • Basic data with respect to regional trade facilitation policies among the GTI member countries;
  • Professional experts network among policy makers for trade facilitation in GTR; and,
  • Potential cooperation projects under the GTI Trade Facilitation Committee.


Outputs and Key Activities


Upon completing the Trade Facilitation Study for the Greater Tumen Region, the following outputs are expected to be delivered:

  • A report on the state of trade facilitation in GTR, outlining the key issues and challenges, and recommendations on how to address the challenges to enhance trade in the region;
  • As part of the above report, a quantitative and qualitative analysis on the trade facilitation condition in GTR to raise awareness and identify quick-wins which can be implemented efficiently; and recommendation of joint projects or policy-measures as well as short-term to medium-term action plan for implementation among the GTI member countries.


To conduct the Study Projects, the expert contracted by UNDP China conducts the following activities:

  • Collect data from published documents from academia, inter-governmental and non-governmental agencies, and the GTI Secretariat
  • Administer questionnaire to stakeholders within GTR (e.g. public sector, private sector, development partners, academia and civil society organizations)
  • Conduct face to face contact and formal/informal meetings with officials of the GTI Secretariat and the countries in GTR
  • Gather comments on the draft Study Report from the GTI member countries (members of the GTI Trade Facilitation Committee)


Outputs Produced and Key Activities


UNDP China in cooperation with the GTI Secretariat and GTI member countries conducted this Study project in 2013, and the interim result was reported to the 3rd TFC Meeting (06 AUG 2013, Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia). Later, UNDP China shared the draft Study Report with the GTI member countries for their comments, and also made a presentation on the result of the Study at the 3rd Capacity Building Programme on Trade Facilitation (March 2014) organized by the Korea Customs Service. The GTI Secretariat on behalf of UNDP China again introduced it to the participants in the 4th TFC Meeting (19 NOV 2014, Vladivostok, Russian Federation) to get final comments before publishing the Study report. The Russian Federation provided comments to further reflect their progress and achievements on trade facilitation into the Study report.


UNDP China finished the Study in July 2015 and finally e-published the report (http://www.cn.undp.org/content/china/en/home/library/south-south-cooperation/greater-tumen-region-trade-facilitation-study-.html). The Study Report provides various policy recommendations to remove soft barriers to trade facilitation: 1) Free Trade Agreement within the NEA Region; 2) Strengthening the mechanism for organizing regional trade fairs; 3) GTI Single Window; 4) Risk Management (Authorized Economic Operators, Pre-arrival Clearance, Post-Clearance Audit); 5) Joint border management; 6) Visa regime; 7) Consultation, coordination and involvement of stakeholders; 8) Sharing knowledge, expertise and resources; 9) Harnessing the potential of e-commerce; 10) Development of regional/sub-regional value chain; and 11) Development of cross border economic zones.



Budget Expenditure


UNDP China has put USD 35,000 (Northeast Asia Regional Cooperation Programme) to conduct the Trade Facilitation Study project.


Overall Assessment


1. The Study Report provides comprehensive data for the GTI member countries to understand the current situation of exports and imports among the countries in the North East Asia (GTI member countries and Japan). Although the intra-regional trade data are not the latest ones, all the numbers and trends including trade costs for trading across borders provide a good picture for understanding the existing trade activities in the North East Asia. Especially, the part which introduces diverse problematic factors based on a survey with stakeholders from the GTI member countries provides good implications on where each GTI member country has strong or weak points in its trade facilitation policies.


2. The Study Report also povides abundant policy implications, recommdations and project ideas.  These can be a starting point for the GTI member countries to identify joint project items on trade facilitation in the future. For example, „Strengthening the mechanism for organizing regional trade fairs“, „GTI Single Window“, „AEO“, „Sharing of knowedge, expertise and resources“ are directly related with what the GTI member countries have already organized (e.g. Ganwon EXPO, Capacity Building Programme of KCS) or plan to implement (e.g. project proposals on „GTI Single Window“ and „AEO“ from the Russian Federation and China respectively). Furthermore, some recommendations related with trade and investment such as „Free Trade Agreement with the NEA Region“ and „Harnessing the potential of e-commerce“ can be good topics for the GTI Trade and Investment Committee (TIC) which replaces the former TFC.


Follow up Actions including Lessons learnt


Based on the recommendations in the Study Report, the GTI member countries need to make efforts in further identifying issues for studies or events in the future.