Small Businesses, Great Opportunities

Sensitising trade facilitation reform for micro, small and medium enterprises
Insights from the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation

Small businesses are the backbones of national economies, generating value and employment for local communities as they grow. Trade facilitation offers the promise of new business opportunities in international markets for micro-, small-, and medium-sized enterprises (MSMEs) but trade reform needs to better understand and address the specific challenges facing MSMEs to maximise these gains.

The Alliance’s Small Businesses, Great Opportunities paper showcases research that confirms MSMEs should be the primary beneficiaries of trade facilitation reforms and suggests ways that these efforts can do better at making the process more attune to their particular needs. It demonstrates how trade facilitation can unlock enormous value for smaller businesses if reform processes involve more MSMEs and engage them in ways that recognise their limited time and resources. In doing so, it draws on best practices in engaging MSMEs in trade facilitation reforms worldwide and adds lessons from the Alliance’s own experience in delivering projects to make trade simpler, faster, and less costly.

The Alliance has also published a practical note on implementing MSME-sensitive trade reform, The Trade Facilitation Agreement Through an MSME Lens, to guide its own work and inform the efforts of policy makers and development practitioners.

Together these two publications represent the latest stepping stones in furthering the Alliance’s knowledge base in making trade facilitation reforms work for MSMEs, allowing it to hone its own approach while it also gathers more data and experience from its projects that will be shared regularly with all practitioners.

Download the full document here.

Check out our The Trade Facilitation Agreement Through an MSME Lens guide.