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Coordination, Collaboration and Connectivity for Better Border Management

Violane Konar-Leacy's picture
Coordinated border management (CBM) is key to unlocking trade facilitation challenges. Improving collaboration between border agencies and the private sector can result in moving and clearing goods faster and more cheaply. Better coordination, collaboration and connectivity are at the heart of our trade facilitation work at the World Bank Group.
  • Coordination: Coordinating the activities of different national border agencies in connection with import, export, or transit transaction
  • Collaboration: Information exchange between national and regional border agencies for purposes of verifying import/export good declarations
  • Connectivity: ICT platforms that create a one-stop shop for trade (import/export), such as trade portals and single windows
CBM implies an organized, collaborative approach by border control agencies, both domestic and international, in trying to achieve greater efficiency in cross border trade, while facilitating legitimate trade and maintaining a proper balance with compliance requirements. When implemented well, CBM can lead to shorter delays, quicker release, better predictability, higher legal security, and lower costs.  Together, all these can make a country and a region more competitive.
 
Border agency collaboration has been championed by the World Customs Organization, the World Bank Group and other international organizations, and is embedded in the border control strategies of many countries worldwide. Its importance and benefits for both the private and public sectors was highlighted by the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which aims to reduce trade costs and help countries connect to regional and global markets. The agreement, which came into force in February 2017, requires members’ border control authorities to cooperate and coordinate their activities to facilitate trade. 
 
The key benefits for border agencies include a reduction in administration and enforcement costs through:
  • Process reengineering to streamline and harmonize procedures
  • Empowering staff across agencies for shared responsibilities
  • Coordinated risk management: shared information for shared-decision on high-risk cargo
  • Sharing of non-intrusive inspection equipment and inspection bays (e.g. integrated check posts and mirror image facilities across borders)
The key benefits for the trading community include:
  • Decreased compliance costs through streamlined and simplified procedures
  • Increased efficiency in inspection and release of phytosanitary goods
  • Improved quality of services rendered by border agencies
  • Expedited border crossing thorough harmonized physical inspections; improved flow management
From September 19-20, the Bank Group’s Trade Facilitation Support Program (TFSP), in collaboration with the Ministry of Finance of Montenegro, hosted a Coordinated Border Management learning event in Budva to improve collaboration between border agencies and the private sector and make cross-border trade more efficient. Hosting the event in Montenegro was apt since the country is leading the way with improved coordination with the establishment of the first National Trade Facilitation Committee in the Western Balkans and is currently working towards a single window.


 
Over 60 stakeholders from 16 countries in Europe and Central Asia (ECA) attended the two-day, peer-to-peer event, including representatives from customs agencies, sanitary, phytosanitary and veterinary agencies, ministries of economy and finance, and the private sector. Participants shared their experiences and challenges related to border management and agency coordination, and discuss best practices and potential solutions.
 
A key outcome was the strengthening of a community of practice among countries in Europe and Central Asia. This community of practice, convened by the Bank Group, will support the ongoing sharing of experience among countries. With the growth in countries implementing TFA measures, the event was an opportunity to take stock of the achievements so far and the challenges ahead – with the hope that the community of practice will help governments share experiences and support each other in this effort in the years ahead.
 
Border collaboration is a critical mechanism to achieve each country’s trade facilitation goals. As one event participant said, “Trade facilitation is not all about customs. It is also about the other border agencies and the business community coming together and working towards a shared common goal.” Better coordination, collaboration and connectivity aim to not only boost national and regional trade, but create jobs and grow the economy. This is particularly important in the Western Balkans as the region is working towards joining the European Union.
 

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