The Enabling Agricultural Trade (EAT) project has undertaken extensive analysis of countries’ enabling environment for agricultural trade, i.e. the system of government policies, laws, regulations, and institutions that govern the cross-border movement of agricultural goods. These studies repeatedly found that weaknesses in trade facilitation, including slow customs processing, inefficient ports, and poor physical infrastructure, create costly obstacles to achieving agricultural development goals.
This paper incorporates findings and lessons learned from EAT’s work on the enabling environment for cross-border agricultural trade with recent evidence from research institutions, international organizations, and think tanks to evaluate the state of the evidence on the enabling environment for cross-border agricultural trade. The following sections explore the documented costs of various legal, regulatory, and institutional challenges to cross-border trade and provide evidence for the effectiveness of reforms.