Trade and investment facilitation can benefit all businesses, not just foreign investors or large exporters. Facilitation for MSMEs is an important way to grow the formal sector, widen the tax base, broaden social security coverage and support vulnerable populations.
Adopt a user-centric approach
A government procedure comprises a series of interactions, or steps, between the user and a representative of a government department. For some procedures, several departments might be involved, sometimes more than once. Facilitation begins by understanding the journey from start to finish as the user experiences it.
Adopt a risk-based approach
A significant amount of red tape is the result of a tendency to treat all applicants as high risk. Adopting a risk-based approach which recognises that most traders and investors act in good faith would facilitate trade and investment.
Simplify procedures before going digital
Administrative procedures often go beyond what is required by law and are further complicated by contradictory guidelines and manuals. Simplification would mean examining whether all steps, data and documents required within a procedure are necessary, identifying overlaps and duplication, reviewing the legal basis for each step and questioning whether the economic cost of complying with each step is justified by the benefit to users and society.
Include all mandatory procedures and institutions
Trading a good or establishing a business requires multiple procedures at multiple institutions. Including all required procedures and institutions within a digital solution captures economies of scope and ensures facilitation is genuinely digital.
Connect multiple procedures and institutions
Good digital single windows enable users to obtain all mandatory registrations, with one or various administrations, through a single procedure: a single online form, one set of documents uploaded, a single online payment and issuance of digitally-verifiable certificates.
Communicate the facilitation measures
Investors and businesses should be informed about the trade and investment facilitation solutions in place and how they can be accessed. Communication might include the savings in time and costs that these measures will provide to users and their benefits to the broader economy.
Measure the impact
Data collection and analysis on licenses issued, time taken, user demographics, business types and location improves procedures, policies and communication efforts, and can support economic development.
Carry out peer reviews and regional comparisons
Online peer comparisons help countries identify gaps in their trade and investment facilitation and put in place solutions that are appropriate to their needs, objectives and international commitments.