A number of countries have introduced or are considering the introduction of a Trade Information Portal as a means of facilitating trade and increasing transparency. For WTO members or countries in the process of acceding to the WTO, a Trade Information Portal will also assist them in complying with new commitments currently being negotiated as part of the Doha Development Round. The negotiations aim to strengthen the provisions of Article X of GATT which currently requires that all regulatory trade related information “shall be published promptly in such a manner as to enable governments and traders to become acquainted with them”[i].
In many developed nations, trade related information is readily available across a number of websites maintained by each government agency responsible for a particular aspect of trade regulation. In some of these countries, the government even provides a website that consolidates all of this information in one user friendly website. However, in many developing nations, such agency specific websites may not exist and even when they do they are often incomplete, out of date or the content may not cover the entire spectrum of information that a trader may wish to obtain to ensure compliance with import, export or transit requirements. It is therefore desirable to create a single platform, known as a Trade Infomation Portal, where all the information relating to trade from all the various agencies is aggregated under one roof and is readily available for searching and viewing.
Often a Trade Information Portal is seen as a first step towards the introduction of an electronic National Single Window, which is also increasingly being seen as a way of affording greater facilitation to trade.
This Guide discusses the issues and challenges that developing nations are likely to face when implementing a Trade Information Portal and provides a checklist of practical guidelines for the steps that might be required in order to achieve effective implementation.
| Download a PDF of the guide here (12 MB) |
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[i] GATT 1947 and 1994, Article X, WTO