Lending and Technical Assistance:
• The Great Lakes Trade Facilitation Project, currently under preparation, is a $140 million, multi-country investment operation that tackles constraints to cross-border trade between the Democratic Republic of the Congo and its five neighbors, Burundi, Rwanda, Tanzania, Uganda, and Zambia. Investments in cross-border infrastructure, policies relating to border operations, and cross-border administration will help lower trade costs, improve trading capability, reduce time to cross borders, and help integrate conflict-affected communities.
• In Lao PDR, WBG technical assistance has helped develop the Lao Trade Portal, an online tool that serves as an authoritative source on the country’s trade laws, regulations, and procedures. The trade portal reduces the time needed for traders to acquire information and carry out transactions.
• In Honduras, WBG technical assistance improved trade-related procedures for agribusiness products by linking three critical government agencies to simplify exports and imports. More than 700 Honduran companies selling abroad can now obtain export permits in one day, compared to the three days it took previously.
• In Kenya, the World Bank Group is advising the government on competition regulations that will break up cartels in key economic sectors. These regulations will prohibit anticompetitive agreements, generating private savings for firms and households. Estimates put savings at about $18 million annually in insurance markets alone.
• In the Philippines, the World Bank Group has helped implement reform that dramatically cuts the time needed to register new vessels. One result is that incumbent operators are no longer able to prevent new companies from serving certain routes. This translates into a potential 5 percent savings in transport logistics costs.
Policy Advice and Analysis:
• The WBG’s Trade Competitiveness Diagnostic Toolkit facilitates a systematic assessment of a country’s performance and capabilities in export markets. It has been applied in over 25 countries.
• Within the WBG Doing Business Project, which measures business regulations and their enforcement across 189 economies, the “Trading Across Borders” indicator measures the time and cost (excluding tariffs) of exporting and importing cargo by sea.
• A recent report, Trading Away from Conflict, analyzes the extent to which trade affects the risk of conflict by mapping and empirically testing the channels through which trade may affect conflict and political stability, using data from more than 120 developing countries and in-depth case studies. It recommends policies for fragile and conflict-affected states.
Open Trade Data:
• In cooperation with other international development partners, the WBG launched the Transparency in Trade Initiative to provide free and easy access to data on country-specific trade policies. This initiative includes the recently revamped World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) and the Services Trade Restrictions Database.
• The biennial Logistics Performance Index (LPI) measures the logistics "friendliness" of 160 countries based on a worldwide survey of freight forwarders and express carriers.
• The Trade Costs Dataset shows that developing countries face disproportionately higher costs and lower levels of trade integration than high-income countries.
To better monitor trade policy developments, the WBG has supported the Global Trade Alert, a joint venture of think tanks around the world, and maintains the Temporary Trade Barriers Database. Both databases allow users to track the use of trade-distorting government measures initiated since the 2008 crisis.