Trade Obstacle Alert Mechanism

The Trade Obstacles Alert Mechanism (TOAM) is an initiative of  the International Trade Centre (ITC), developed in collaboration with public and private institutions at the national and regional level. TOAM facilitates the identification and elimination of obstacles faced by companies.

The Trade Obstacle Alert system allows:

  • Companies and privates sector associations to post online information queries and reports about the challenges they face in their daily export and import operations;
  • Trade related agencies to answer their queries and interact with them in order to increase efficiency in tackling trade obstacles;
  • Policy makers and trade support institutions to monitor an updated database of the most cumbersome obstacles faced by companies in order to prioritize policy action and design tailored technical assistance interventions.

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

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 TOAM was first developed in 2014 for implementation in Côte d’Ivoire. Since its first launch it has been implemented in 9 countries. A regional TOAM platform has also been developed for the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU). In beneficiary countries, TOAM has helped to stimulate the public-private dialogue triggered by the enforcement of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).May 2014 more than 300 users registered to the system among which more than 150 companies. 

The following countries have an operational TOAM or are under development. 


National sites

Trade Obstacle Alert - Benin


Trade Obstacle Alert – Burkina Faso

Burkina Faso

Trade Obstacle Alert – Cabo Verde

Cabo Verde

Trade Obstacle Alert – Cote d’Ivoire

Cote d’Ivoire

Trade Obstacle Alert - Ghana


Trade Obstacle Alert - Guinea


Trade Obstacle Alert – Guinea-Bissau


Trade Obstacle Alert - Liberia


Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert

Sierra Leone

Trade Obstacle Alert

The Gambia

Trade Obstacle Alert


Trade Obstacle Alert

Viet Nam

Trade Obstacle Alert


Regional sites

Trade Obstacle Alert


Demonstration and trainings

Trade Obstacle Alert

Demo Site