The aim of the WBG and its Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice is to make the world trading system more supportive of development and to help countries benefit from increased globalization by:
- Supporting the conclusion of pro-development trade agreements (multilateral, regional, and bilateral).
- Emphasizing trade and competitiveness at the core of national development strategies.
- Promoting trade-related reforms through effective Aid for Trade programs.
Launched in 2011, the WBG Trade Strategy, Leveraging Trade for Development and Inclusive Growth, targets four priority areas: trade competitiveness and diversification; trade facilitation, transport logistics and trade finance; support for market access and international trade cooperation; and managing shocks and promoting greater inclusion. We are also committed to building knowledge through research, analysis, tools and data, and through delivery of technical assistance.
Trust Fund Support
• The second Multi-Donor Trust Fund for Trade and Development (MDTF-TD2) is the largest source of donor funds to support analytical trade work across the WBG. From 2012 to 2015 it will support work programs developed annually by operational units of the WBG. The WBG has received $34.5 million in pledges to the MDTF-TD2 over three years.
• The WBG’s Trade and Competitiveness Global Practice in June 2014 launched the Trade Facilitation Support Program, a $30 million multi-donor platform, to provide developing countries with rapid-response technical assistance to help them align with the World Trade Organization’s December 2013 Trade Facilitation Agreement. The program, which has six founding partners, will help countries reduce costs and improve speed and efficiency of trade at their borders by simplifying their customs procedures and other trade facilitation practices. It is anchored in the World Bank Group’s Trade Strategy, specifically the sections on trade facilitation, transport logistics and trade finance. To date, 30 countries have sought support to assess and reform their trade facilitation practices.
• The WBG’s Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF) supports improvements in customs and other trade facilitation systems that help developing countries reduce trade costs and improve competitiveness. As of December 2013, 70 projects with an allocation of $48.6 million have been approved, 80 percent of which benefit African countries.
- As of end 2013, the Trade and Supply Chain Department of the International Finance Corporation (IFC), the private-sector arm of the WBG, has supported over $80 billion in global trade through 10 products to help emerging market financial institutions meet the trade finance and working capital needs of their clients.
- Under IFC's flagship Global Trade Finance Program (GTFP), the IFC guaranteed nearly $7 billion in emerging market trade in 2013, over $600 million of which went to enable trade in climate-change related goods under the recently launched Climate Smart Trade program.
Improving Access to Trade Data
- In cooperation with other international development partners, the World Bank launched the Transparency in Trade Initiative to provide free and easy access to data on country-specific trade policies. Hallmarks of this initiative include the recently revamped World Integrated Trade Solution (WITS) and the Services Trade Restrictions Database, both of which are available online and accessible to the public free of charge.
- 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 recently released Exporter Dynamics Database offers a comprehensive picture of exporter characteristics and dynamics in 45 countries.
- The Trade Costs Dataset, released by the WBG and UNESCAP in January 2013, 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.