Helping SMEs internationalise through trade facilitation
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in generating economic activity and employment in developing and developed countries. However, partly due to remaining at-the-border trade costs, SMEs continue to be less represented in international trade ？ as direct exporters or importers ？ than larger firms. Drawing on cross-country data from the World Bank Enterprise Survey (WBES), together with the OECD Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC), this paper looks at the relationship between the trade facilitation environment ？ as measured through the OECD Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs) ？ and various measures of international engagement of SMEs. While there are differentiated impacts across firm size for different trade facilitation areas, the analysis shows that firms of all sizes across both developed and developing economies benefit from improvements in the overall trade facilitation environment, helping them export and import. However, on aggregate, smaller firms benefit more from improvements in the overall trade facilitation environment relative to large firms. The analysis also suggests that some trade facilitation measures matter more in addressing fixed versus variable costs for SMEs and provides some guidance as to what trade facilitation policy reforms might be prioritised.