The Trade Facilitation Agreement: A World of Opportunities For MSMEs
While Micro, Small, and Medium-sized Enterprises (MSMEs) are widely acknowledged to contribute to the economic growth of a country, their participation in international trade has been constrained because they typically lack the skills, knowledge of international markets, and familiarity with border procedures to effectively engage in the global economy.
The World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) includes many provisions that address some of these challenges by providing greater transparency regarding trade rules and regulations and by reducing the time and cost to trade, thereby improving the competitiveness of all firms.
Since its entry into force in 2017, implementation of the TFA has been progressing, but many countries, particularly developing ones, continue to face challenges with the implementation of the reforms and modernization of customs and border agency procedures called for within the agreement.
USAID’s publication of The Trade Facilitation Agreement: A World of Opportunities for MSMEs is intended to raise awareness among policymakers, the private sector, and other stakeholders about the importance of the TFA to the MSME community. Hopefully, this publication can contribute additional knowledge to the national dialogues taking place about the TFA’s implementation and encourage stakeholders to recognize the value of the TFA’s implementation in a timely and comprehensive fashion.
A greater understanding of the beneficial impacts of the agreement on the business community and an appreciation for its related effects might come as an additional impetus to achieve the full objectives of the agreement. But implementation of the agreement is only a means to an end: unleashing the private sector—including MSMEs—to expand their ability to engage in international trade and thereby contribute to national economic growth and prosperity.