Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP)
About the Program

Trade facilitation plays an important role in development. It enhances countries' competitiveness, allowing them to trade goods and services on time and with low transaction costs.

The Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP), managed by the World Bank Group's Macroeconomics, Trade & Investment (MTI) Global Practice, provides support for countries seeking assistance in aligning their trade practices with the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA).

TFSP helps developing countries benefit from increased trade and foreign investments that result in increased private sector trade competitiveness.

The TFSP program complements the work of other departments in the World Bank and IFC operating in the trade space. Externally, we coordinate closely on the ground with international financial institutions, multilateral organizations, and other partners.

Consultative Committee consisting of TFSP's founding donors,the WBG's Development Research Group, and Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice leadership team has beenestablished to further refine the agenda and approach of the Program, and oversee its launch and rollout. The Consultative Committee meets semi-annually to:

  • Monitor implementation progress and provide overall guidance.
  • Review the country selection criteria.
  • Assist with identifying partners for systems/infrastructure implementation.
  • Facilitate engagement with the WTO and other key players in the trade facilitation arena.
Seven partners have committed US$36 million to the TFSP, which also works with eight multilateral organizations. To date, 59 countries have requested assistance, 49 validation missions have been completed, and implementation has begun in 26 countries.

Founding Donors:

Australian Aid
European Commission
Government of Canada
Norwegian Ministry of Foreign Affairs
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs, Switzerland (SECO)

Multilateral Organizations:

Asian Development Bank
Inter-American Development Bank
International Monetary Fund
International Trade Centre
United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
World Customs Organization
World Trade Organization



State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO
State Secretariat for Economic Affairs SECO

The TFSP was established to help developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) reform their trade facilitation practices in a manner consistent with the measures of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), concluded at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia in December 2013.


To receive support under the Program, countries are expected to have demonstrated a strong commitment to implementing trade facilitation reforms in the areas covered by the WTO TFA.  Moreover, the TFSP will prioritize assistance to countries with limited access to other donor support.  Requests for technical assistance can be made directly to the Trade Facilitation Support Program or through WBG offices and partners.


There are two main components to the TFSP approach - technical assistance and knowledge, learning and management.

Technical Assistance

The program helps developing countries reform trade facilitation laws, procedures, processes and systems in a manner consistent with the WTO TFA. The main areas of intervention include:

Main Areas of Technical Assistance

  1. Assistance with scheduling of commitments and implementation timelines
  2. Review and validation of self-assessments and identification of reform gaps
  3. Support and strengthening of National Trade Facilitation Committees
  4. Review/revision and drafting of trade laws and implementation of regulations to ensure alignment with the TFA
  5. Simplification, streamlining and harmonization of trade procedures and documents to reduce time and cost to trade
  6. Improvement of transparency and accountability measures of trade practices
  7. Fostering partnerships between public and private sectors to catalyze trade
  8. Facilitation reforms
  9. Integration of risk-based management systems and other contemporary border management approaches into border inspections and clearance processes
  10. Review of inter-agency coordination and design of institutional capacity building plans
  11. Support of regional solutions to facilitate the recognition of agreed upon standards for goods crossing borders
  12. Implementation of policies and practices to facilitate the recognition of agreed upon standards for goods crossing borders
  13. Support for the design and implementation of automated systems and innovative technologies to facilitate trade

With an aim of creating and sustaining reform momentum, TFSP places emphasis on rapid response-type interventions. Additionally, the Program can finance selected interventions that are not specifically covered by the TFA, but which support its purpose of creating more open trade regimes and achieving greater impact.

Knowledge, Learning & Measurement

The program complements and underpins project interventions with the development of knowledge, learning and measurement tools.

  • TFSP Tracking Tool
    TFSP has developed a tracking tool that is currently being piloted, and will be available so that countries can assess TFA alignment from both legal (de jure) and de facto implementation perspectives.  The tool will be an important mechanism for countries to track their reform implementation, identify reform priorities and quick win reform opportunities, and report and benchmark their progress in a results-based manner.  
  • TFSP TFA Validation Assessment Guide
    The TFSP Validation Assessment Guide was created to help the World Bank Group and its partners conduct in-country assessments or update and validate existing country WTO Self-Assessments to determine a country's level of alignment with the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), its technical assistance and capacity-building support needs, and priorities in implementing the TFA. The guide is based on the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation Articles and builds on the WTO Self-Assessment Guide prepared by the World Bank during the early years of negotiations.


Where technical assistance is clearly required and requested by member countries, or where self-implementation efforts require support, the World Bank Group will assist countries on any combination of the WTO TFA implementation activities outlined below:


Phase 1

  • Finalize validation missions and review of Country Self-Assessments
  • Agree on priorities for reform implementation
  • Propose sequence of activities and timeline
Phase 2
  • Identification and support in implementing Quick Wins and medium term reforms
  • Initiate projects (TA and through lending programs)
Phase 3
  • Longer term reform activities through WBG Lending
  • Help leverage funds from WB and other partners for longer term, bigger scale ICT and infrastructure development

Initial Activities:

  1. Validation of WTO TFA Self-Assessment: The WBG will support countries in updating the TFA self-assessment, including undertaking an in-country field validation.
  2. Identification of Category A, B, and C commitments: The WBG can support countries in finalizing category A, B, and C commitments.
  3.  Finalize Reform Priorities: The WBG can provide support in the development of a reform map and timeline for implementation of priority areas of reform, including its validation with all relevant public and private stakeholders. Once an agreed upon reform map is validated, the appropriate level of technical assistance can be offered by the WBG.

Contact Us