This step sets the scope of the facilitation measures to be undertaken, based on strategic and informed decisions and, preferably, from the joint perspectives of the government and the private sector. Narrowing the scope means that sectors for facilitation have been prioritized in the Decide step (e.g. Customs, transport, payment, trade finance). In this stage more detailed areas of action should be identified. The advice is to prioritize areas of synergy or otherwise critical ones, instead of launching attempts in all identified areas simultaneously, and then proceed with specific facilitation actions and measures.
Available trade data should be used in order to identify:
- Areas of high frequency: If certain information has to be frequently exchanged between traders and government agencies, and possibly in a burdensome way, this is a candidate for facilitation measures. An example is information on goods arriving at a border which needs to be submitted to government authorities.
- Areas of high volumes: For every business-to-government transaction, a cost can be calculated or estimated. If areas where high numbers of transactions routinely take place are identified (e.g. submission of Customs declarations in cross-border trade), then such areas should be a candidate for facilitation measures. An example is trade statistics that every importer or exporter has to provide to government authorities on a regular basis.
- Areas of tangible efficiency improvement: Ensuring effective application of legislation through efficient procedures used by governmental bodies, is as important as decreasing compliance costs. If areas with large use of human resources are identified, then they should be a candidate for facilitation measures. This will allow the government to deploy scarce resources to areas of greater strategic importance, while improving processing procedures in areas of lower risk.
- Areas of tangible decrease of compliance costs: A decrease in compliance costs is often an enabler of trade growth and hence of income for the government. If a situation requires users to contribute high levels of budgetary and/or human resources, it could well be subject to trade facilitation measures. An example is the use of fax or scanned copies of documents instead of originals or, even better, avoidance of supporting documents with no real value for the process.
- Areas with high numbers of users: if an area has very specific users that are a small portion of the total number of users, it is questionable whether the identified facilitation measures should be undertaken. For instance, importers are not a generic category. All have specific needs and requirements based on their type of business. If a small category of importers requests digitalization of a specific information flow, then it could be more appropriate to improve the manual procedure than making an investment in ICT.
The frequency, volumes, number of users, and efficiency improvement means will vary across countries, sectors and user categories.
Cost benefit analysis
It is usually at this stage that necessary funding for implementation is decided upon. In order to obtain a comparison of costs and benefits of specific trade facilitation measures adopted both in the short and long term, a Cost Benefit Analysis should be taken of any necessary trade facilitation programme/project. This will provide insights as to when and where allotted investments would have the best and highest impact.
Business Process Analysis is a methodology, described in this Guide, that supports the detailed analysis of a business operation with a view to improving its efficiency and effectiveness. It outlines the processes involved, participating parties, information exchanged and the rules that govern the exchanges.