Facilitating Global Trade: Connectivity across Borders

Wednesday 2 May, 16:30-18:00
Session Outline
Crossing borders has always been a problem in transport. In the 1980s and 1990s steady progress was made to simplify procedures and reduce delays and costs especially in Europe where many borders disappeared but also in other regions. The terrorist attacks of September 2001 resulted in a sharp increase in security measures for international travel and trade. Moreover, in some regions, like the former USSR or South East Europe, a set of new borders was created. In summary, new security requirements, as well as existing procedures mean that international transport still faces obstacles, costs and difficulties in crossing borders.

There are positive examples of incorporating the stringent increased security measures after 2001, while maintaining the enormous cross border flows (e.g. Canada/USA), or of the forward-looking security and exports-oriented approaches adopted by some customs (e.g. Australia). But this is not the case elsewhere. Customary obstacles observed in border crossing procedures during past decades still persist. These include delays due to the different controls required at borders, the problems due to lack of coordination between different authorities within and between countries, infrastructure problems with parking or approach lanes for road transport, interoperability problems for railways, limited use of electronic communication technologies, which, when used, do not always comply with international standards and finally, specific problems of bribery and corruption. Lack of leadership at borders remains an issue. Several examples show the severity of the problems still encountered in different parts of the world (e.g. EU/Russia, Mexico/USA, India/Bangladesh borders).

The session will bring together key stakeholders to examine:

  • how Transport Ministers’ previous recommendations on overcoming border crossing obstacles have been implemented;
  • key remaining issues and policy challenges in overcoming deficiencies in border crossings;

  • good practice and recent developments which can be shared;

  • areas where further action needs to be taken to facilitate easier crossing of the borders.

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