Measuring trade facilitation step by step: findings from a sample of 10 economies

Author: Doing Business
Publication: Doing Business 2015
Download Now


  • In 2014 the Doing Business project’s Trading across Borders team took on additional research aimed at providing new data to complement existing tools for benchmarking in trade facilitation. The study applied a time-and-motion approach to map out the step-by-step procedures in trade.
  • The research focused on 10 economies: Bangladesh, Benin, China, the Czech Republic, Honduras, the Republic of Korea, Moldova, Qatar, St. Lucia and Zambia. Two lists of procedures were created for each economy, one for exporting and one for importing.
  • These procedure lists make it possible to clearly identify what steps have to take place in exporting and importing, how much time each of them takes and how much each costs. This mapping of procedures can help policy makers determine which are particularly burdensome for traders and what could be done to address the issues.
  • Among the 10 case study economies, Korea has the fewest procedures.
  • Landlocked economies tend to have the most procedures because of the many additional procedures at the border. The exception is the Czech Republic, which has the second fewest procedures among the case study economies.
  • A higher number of procedures to export and import can be associated with higher fees charged for customs and port-related services.
  • The methodology allowed the research to take into account the simultaneity of procedures that in practice often happen in parallel. This approach therefore produced lower estimates of the total time to trade than reflected in the Trading across Borders data—22% lower for exporting and 32% lower for importing.