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Evaluating the Development Impact of IT in Trade Facilitation [2008/09]

Project Team: Dr. Sachin Chaturvedi

The proposed research will evaluate the impact of information technology (IT) use in trade facilitation on the trade participants by looking at experiences in trade transactions that promote the use of IT. Among many trade facilitation measures that have been proposed at the WTO, one is the extensive application of information technology (IT) in the trade formalities. Experience in some countries has shown that automation of procedures and documentation in connection with imports and exports speeds up the entry and exit of goods, reduces errors, and safeguards governance. However, its limited and often partial application in many developing and least developed countries suggests that there may be adverse effects of IT application on the wider development of traders, exporters and domestic manufacturers especially SMEs. The responsible factors may also include absence of the enabling factors (e.g. broader use of IT across public and private sectors) perhaps even exacerbated by the institution of special privileges (e.g. traders with gold card status or super-green access).

The project is supported by the ARTNeT of UNESCAP, Bangkok and apart from RIS includes institutions from China, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, The Philippines and South Korea.