In the area of international trade, goods have to undergo at least two sets of border formalities, one in the country of export and one in the country of import. Often goods cross more than one border. Trade facilitation is therefore not only the responsibility of each individual country, but also the collective responsibility of all countries concerned. The more countries base their individual Customs working methods, processes and procedures on relevant international standards such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the Convention on the Harmonization of Frontier Controls of Goods, the more cross-border cooperation and coordination can be facilitated. For example, joint border controls will help to eliminate redundancies in the clearance process at land border crossings. Also, complying with international risk management standards will increase predictability in the entire door-to-door supply chain. International transit arrangements will ensure that goods can be delivered smoothly and rapidly to their final destination without having to undergo Customs clearance in every country they pass through.
The management of such bilateral, plurilateral and multilateral cross-border Customs cooperation can help to reduce the cost of trading significantly. APEC economies agreed in 2005 to reduce transaction costs by 2010 by another 5% after having achieved a reduction of 5% as agreed in 2001. This APEC Trade Facilitation Action Plan is a good practice example of what is achievable through greater economic integration and cross-border management.