Encouraging Private Sector Participation in National Trade Facilitation Bodies


Project Details

Project Identifier
Bureau Decision #
#2103100, #2201057, #2203066
Project Proposal Status

Project Page

Encouraging Private Sector Participation in National Trade Facilitation Bodies

Supporting VC
Project Lead
HoD Support
Submitted date
Draft Development Completion
Publication Date

Project Purpose

Governments worldwide have set up trade facilitation bodies as platform for dialogue, exchange and cooperation between private and public stakeholders on trade facilitation issues. When governments involve private sector firms in such National Trade Facilitation Bodies, most do so through formal membership targets for professional associations. However, this has not always been sufficient to encourage effective participation of private sector firms in the operational activities. Under what conditions can more active engagement of private sector firms be secured and encouraged? Investigating this question is key to help governments leverage private sector expertise and input for trade facilitation reforms, and to help micro, small and medium enterprises to overcome barriers for participation. UN/CEFACT guidance for setting up such bodies recommends appropriate representation of private sector firms in National Trade Facilitation Bodies and reiterates the benefits of broad private sector mobilization for inclusiveness and impact of trade facilitation reforms. UNECE Recommendation No 4 on National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFB) lists the following private sector stakeholders as recommended members of an NTFB: importers, exporters, freight forwarders, carriers, banks, and insurance companies. However, at the operational level, engaging private sector at the right level in a continuous manner has been challenging for many trade facilitation bodies. Issues to overcome are logistics, fragmentation of private sector, different levels of knowledge, leadership, culture and mindset. Private and public sector representatives not only have diverging interests they also have different expectations from dialogue structures and how they can impact change on the ground. Trade facilitation bodies that are successful in bringing in private sector views and members have invested resources and efforts in bridging gaps between the expectations and interests remain high, objectives of the private sector This White Paper aims to take stock of existing challenges and constraints for effective private sector mobilization and provide guidance on how to create investments and arrangements that encourage private sector participation in NTFB and other forms of public-private consultation related to trade facilitation.

Project Scope

The project is part of UN/CEFACT activities of the PoW 2019-2020, namely with regards to the activities for Progressing trade facilitation and supporting its implementation also planned in the PoW 2021-2022. As part of this area, UN/CEFACT develops recommendations, standards and other deliverables to be used by governments and businesses to implement different aspects of the WTO TFA. It complements the revised UNECE Recommendation No 4 and the UNECE Recommendation No 40. The project will provide clear, accessible and concise guidance for encouraging private sector participation in NTFB. It will assess the current state of involvement based on exiting surveys and additional brief case studies, investigate barriers for participation including for MSMEs, and investigate and highlight mechanism and arrangements that have been found to overcome the barriers and secure active mobilization and participation of private sector firms and associations.

Project Deliverables

The project deliverables are: • White Paper on Encouraging Private Sector Participating in National Trade Facilitation Bodies (final name to be determined at a later stage).

Exit Criteria

The exit criteria will be: • White Paper ready to publish.

Project Team Membership and Required Functional Expertise

Membership is open to UN/CEFACT experts with broad knowledge in the area of: Trade facilitation, public-private dialogue, public administration In addition, Heads of Delegations may invite technical experts from their constituency to participate in the work. Experts are expected to contribute to the work based solely on their expertise and to comply with the UN/CEFACT Code of Conduct and Ethics and the policy on Intellectual Property Rights

Geographical Focus

The geographical focus of the project is global.

Initial Contributions

• Presentations of UN/CEFACT Forum 2020 TPF Domain Webinar • UN/CEFACT Recommendations No 4 and No 40 and their guidelines

Resource Requirements

Participants in the project shall provide resources for their own participation. The existence and functioning of the project shall not require any additional resources from the UNECE secretariat

Project Proposal Files

  File Modified
PDF File 210329-3a TPF WP_NTFB_PrivateSector_v3.pdf May 19, 2021 by Malik