Trade Obstacle Alert (TOA)
The Trade Obstacles Alert (TOA) is a service developed by the International Trade Centre (ITC), in collaboration with relevant national public and private institutions, to facilitate the identification and elimination of obstacles faced by companies.
The Trade Obstacle Alert system allows:
- Companies to post online, information about the challenges they face and deal directly with relevant agencies. This ensures transparency;
- Trade related agencies to interact with companies and efficiently resolve trade obstacles;
- Policy makers and trade support institutions to monitor an updated database of obstacles faced by companies and put in place remedial policies or programs.
The Trade Obstacle Alert system includes:
- An online platform which connects companies and relevant agencies allowing them to exchange information about trade obstacles;
- An institutional mechanism that ensures the cooperation of the different actors involved in the identification and resolution of problems reported through the online platform.
This service has been developed based on ITC’s extensive experience in implementing large scale national surveys focused on the problems faced by the private sector with trade regulations, trade procedures and with the business environment.
The platform provides a user-friendly interface that allows users to:
- Report trade obstacles faced when exporting or importing goods and empowering the responsible authorities to address the problem;
- Receive email alerts about the obstacles faced by other trade operators in the markets and product categories you are interested in:
- View the obstacle reports submitted to date and understand the main concerns of trade operators within the country.
The institutional mechanism
The institutional mechanism ensures the continuity of the communication between the public and private sector, established by the platform, and facilitates the improvement of the business environment in the country.
The institutional mechanism relies on:
- Companies who use the platform to report obstacles they face to relevant authorities;
- Public and semi-public agencies that, through their respective focal points, reply to reports submitted by trade operators;
- The National Focal Point who ensures, through the platform, the transmission of information between public and private actors to respect confidentiality;
- The National Monitoring Committee which oversees the effective functioning of the mechanism by gathering the various public and semi-public agencies involved in the enforcement of procedures and trade regulations in the country.
The TOA has been developed in 2014 and was first implemented for Côte d’Ivoire. Since its launch in May 2014 more than 300 users registered to the system among which more than 150 companies. The mechanism has been enforced by an inter-agency Protocol that engaged the local agency in the elimination of trade obstacles reported through the platform.
The TOA is currently being developed in different other countries. A demo version is accessible.