Our Work

Trade Facilitation

We work with the public and private sectors to advance trade facilitation efficiency, coordination, and transparency to reduce the time and cost of trade for imports, exports, and goods in transit to reach international markets. IESC’s efforts include simplifying trade-related procedures, applying technology solutions, expanding access to cold storage, and strengthening National Trade Facilitation Committees. We assist our in-country partners to comply with the World Trade Organization related Articles, most notably the Trade Facilitation Agreement, Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures, and Technical Barriers to Trade, as well as bilateral and regional trade agreements.

Program Examples

Dominican Republic (DR)

Trade Safe (TraSa)

Funder: USDA Food for Progress

Program Overview: TraSa is expanding trade in agricultural products by strengthening public and private institutions and coordination mechanisms that intervene in local sanitary and phytosanitary standards (SPS) policy to facilitate the adoption of science-based and technically sound SPS regulations and measures; and by providing technical capacity to public and private sector institutions involved in SPS to streamline collaboration and implement transparent, risk-based SPS regulations and practices. The project is also leveraging private sector investment to further develop cold chain systems that meet international standards for food safety.

Relation to IESC Expertise: In an effort to help establish the DR as a premier regional trade hub, IESC works alongside the national trade facilitation committee to improve sanitary and phytosanitary regulations and risk management systems and builds the implementation and enforcement capacity of government entities involved with trade. Through extensive training, IESC empowers the private sector to enhance their SPS practices and systems, aligning with standards like the U.S. Food Safety Modernization Act. Additionally, we are developing the cold chain infrastructure by providing cold chain equipment grants to SMEs and facilitating multimillion-dollar projects at international trade gateways.


Trade–Facilitating Agricultural Systems and Technology (T-FAST)

Funder: USDA Food for Progress

Program Overview: T-FAST is simplifying, modernizing, and harmonizing processes for the export, import, and transit of agricultural goods in Paraguay through implementation of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The program is also strengthening Paraguay’s National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) to foster sustainable improvements in trade facilitation.

Relation to IESC Expertise: Working with the NTFC, relevant government agencies, and the private sector in Paraguay, IESC has reduced pre-clearance release times for agricultural goods by an average of 59% across four targeted institutions; digitalized 13 systems at four institutions; facilitated 84 regulatory reforms; and leveraged $2.6 million in public and private sector investment in trade facilitation. At program inception in 2019, the Government of Paraguay reported 68.5% compliance with the WTO TFA; and in 2022, Paraguay could report 90.8% compliance with the Agreement as a result of IESC’s technical assistance, well on the way to 100% compliance.

El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras

Agricultural Trade and Climate Smart Innovations (ATraCSI)

Funder: USDA Food for Progress

Program Overview: ATraCSI facilitates local and international trade and builds resilience to address climate change to reduce the economic insecurity and inequality that drive migration. ATraCSI is focused on implementing international and risk-based sanitary and phytosanitary measures; implementing measures under the existing World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA); and strengthening climate-smart agriculture through the development and transfer of agricultural technologies focused on high-value horticulture value chains.

Relation to IESC Expertise: Under ATraCSI, IESC is engaging the public sector to simplify, modernize, and harmonize processes and procedures for the export, import, and transit of agricultural goods in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras in keeping with the WTO TFA. IESC is making trade more efficient by considerably lowering trade process times and costs at government institutions through improvements in the digital and physical infrastructure that facilitate trade. Through the digitalization of trade procedures, IESC also increases transparency, which in turn helps to eliminate corrupt practices and reduce corruption.

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