Trade liberalisation, foreign direct investment and customs modernisation: a virtuous circle

The International Chamber of Commerce, the world business organisation, urges governments, and in particular trade and finance ministers, to recognise that modernisation of customs administrations – both of their own countries and of their trading partners – is an important catalyst to economic development.

Understanding the competitive costs associated with tolerance of inefficient customs administration, trade and finance ministers should be strong internal advocates for customs improvement. Much can be done unilaterally and voluntarily to improve prospects for attracting foreign investment and increasing trade.

Additional gains are available from the synergies engendered by an across-the-board improvement in customs efficiency. Consequently, trade and finance ministers should support multilateral and regional initiatives to modernise customs administrations as well. These include World Trade Organization (WTO) initiatives to simplify and improve trade procedures; the work of the World Customs Organization (WCO) on revision of the Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonisation of Customs Procedures; and regional efforts to simplify and harmonise customs procedures.