Trade facilitation and regional trade

In many developing countries, while the econonomy is growing, regional trade is stagnating. Failure to exploit the potential for regional trade costs billions of dollars every year. More regional trade is good for producers and food security, and it leads to more professional farming practices. The Netherlands therefore supports initiatives that promote regional trade.

African governments are aiming to triple their internal trade by 2025. At just 12%, the level of intraregional trade is very low (in the Asean countries it is 25%, and in the European Union it is as high as 65%). Poor infrastructure makes it difficult to get products to local and regional markets, and a job further away from home is simply impossible for many Africans. Even if there is a reasonable infrastructure, there are also logistical obstacles such as the lack of refrigerated transport or slow customs procedures.

Access to the European market

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Image: CBI

Access to international markets is often a step too far for SMEs in developing countries. Companies are unfamiliar with these markets, and have difficulty complying with stringent market access requirements and high quality standards. The Netherlands Enterprise Agency’s CBI programme helps exporters in developing countries gain a foothold on the European and global markets. They receive support in the form of coaching, training and market expertise. The CBI also works with the International Trade Centre to give SMEs better access to other markets.

Factsheet Trade facilitation and regional trade

The Netherlands supports various activities to facilitate (regional) trade in developing countries, for example with programmes to reduce food loss, that remove barriers to international trade and help to reduce trade costs.
For more information, download our complete factsheet: Fewer barriers, more trade - Trade facilitation and regional trade.

More information

Do you have questions or would you like to have some more information? Contact the Sustainable Economic Development Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.