Frida Kahlo helped make Mexican folk art famous. The artisan sector is now the second-largest employer in the developing world after agriculture, worth over $32 billion every year. International trade in artisan goods more than doubled between 2002 and 2012. Growing numbers of foundations, corporations, and banks view the artisan entrepreneur arena as an investable sector.
Trade and trade agreements can play an important role in supporting economic development, but developing countries often face supply-side constraints or lack trade-related infrastructure, limiting their ability to engage in international trade.
China and Europe trade over €1 billion a day on average. With more than 61 routes traversing 43 Chinese cities and 41 European cities across 13 countries, new direct rail linkages are connecting the more than 6,000 miles between China and Europe and transforming the way cargo moves on the Eurasian continent.
Americans spent 8 billion hours in 2015 sitting in traffic. Our individual productivity takes a hit, but so does the productivity of our businesses and the overall economy. In the same way, bottlenecks clearing products through customs at international borders can waste time and money and even disrupt business plans and supplier relationships.
Every minute and hour count in the aftermath of life-threatening emergencies such as large scale natural disasters. Behind the scenes, private donors and relief organizations work to navigate customs requirements and procedures at the borders of countries struck by disaster. But customs bottlenecks are among the most common obstacles cited by the humanitarian community to delivering aid quickly.
Because most everything can be found online and purchased in small quantities, most consumers don’t see much difference between buying toothpaste from CVS online or purchasing an Alex Galchenyuk hockey trading card from Canada on eBay. But when the product is shipped across an international border, the “de minimis” rule is in play.
In 1963, the Pantone company created a system so that designers globally could reproduce identical colors based on a code. In the same way, the Harmonized System is used by customs agencies around the world to classify the products moving across thousands of borders at any point in time.
Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) negotiated the 2014 Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to expedite “the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.”