Belgrade, Serbia, December 5, 2011—IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, is implementing a program funded by the
European Union to reduce trade logistics constraints and harmonize border
clearance procedures in the Western Balkans, stimulating economic growth
IFC’s new Trade Logistics Project will organize and support activities
in each economy, using a regional framework to simplify and harmonize regulations.
The project will cover trade within the Western Balkans, with the EU, and
with other regional markets. IFC will assist the various governments in
the Western Balkans to liberalize trade, particularly in line with practices
of the European Union and Central European Free Trade Agreement.
“Exporters from the Western Balkans not only have to compete in quality
and price, they also have to be able to deliver goods quickly to various
markets,” said Jesper Kjaer, Regional Head of IFC Advisory Services in
Europe and Central Asia. “In partnership with the European Union, we aim
to eliminate delays at borders, and so increase the competitiveness of
companies in the Western Balkans.”
Globally, reducing time-to-trade can increase exports from 3 to 6 percent.
This project aims to reduce the time and cost required to import and export
in the Western Balkans, which will save private sector companies an estimated
€7.5 million per year. In addition, the project will cooperate with the
EU to complement its trade logistics work and avoid duplication of effort.
The project will help find regional solutions to trade logistics challenges
in order to benefit from economies of scale, and also will work in areas
that impact trade logistics, such as fighting trade in illicit goods, consumer
protection, intellectual property rights, and removing barriers to electronic
Companies increasingly use global sourcing strategies that require flexible,
speedy, and cost-effective solutions. In response to this demand, IFC in
2007 launched its Trade Logistics Advisory Product to help countries build
efficient trade logistics systems and services.
IFC, a member of the World Bank Group, is the largest global development
institution focused exclusively on the private sector. We help developing
countries achieve sustainable growth by financing investment, providing
advisory services to businesses and governments, and mobilizing capital
in the international financial markets. In fiscal 2011, amid economic uncertainty
across the globe, we helped our clients create jobs, strengthen environmental
performance, and contribute to their local communities—all while driving
our investments to an all-time high of nearly $19 billion. For more information,