Comparing EU free trade agreements – Trade facilitation
The aim of this InBrief series is to provide a synthesis of various chapters of the ten free trade agreements (FTAs) recently concluded by the European Union with developing countries, as well as other relevant trade agreements when appropriate. Each InBrief offers a detailed and schematic overview of a specific set of trade and trade-related provisions in these agreements.
Trade facilitation may be defined as a ‘comprehensive and integrated method of reducing the complexity and cost of trade processes’. The aim is to reduce the red tape associated with the international supply chain, particularly at the actual cross-border stage. Complicated and unnecessary documentation and data requirements for imports and exports, as well as cumbersome customs and border crossing procedures, are obstacles to international trade flows. And as tariffs are progressively reduced, there are increasing concerns that import and export procedures may create or represent effective non-tariff barriers.