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The Development Impact of Information Technology in Trade Facilitation

IT in trade

It is almost taken as a matter of definition that information technology (IT) is an integral part of trade facilitation (TF), the objective of which is to expedite the movement, clearance and release of goods, including goods in transit. Yet, for many developing and least developed countries, IT remains a distant but desirable goal. Although there are many and varied reasons behind this situation, it is not the purpose of this chapter to lay them out. However, there appears to be some confusion regarding IT in TF. The common perception is that adopting automation for trade transactions automatically leads to speedier movement of goods and people. This is tantamount to a mechanistic way of looking at IT. This type of confusion is clearly misplaced. After all, the installation of computers, software and other peripherals provides only the instruments for TF and there is no immediacy to improvements in efficiency and reduction in transactions costs. Recall the “productivity paradox” associated with the use of IT in the industries of the United States...

Studies in Trade and Investment No. 69 (ST/ESCAP/2584)

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