عنوان مقاله [English]
Introduction: In recent years, the concept of trade facilitation has received unprecedented attention, so trade facilitation has become an essential part of trade negotiations. The term ‘trade facilitation’ is widely used by institutions seeking to improve and facilitate regulatory relations between governmental agencies and traders. According to the United nation, trade facilitation is one of the main indicators of the development in a country. Policy makers in trade area also emphasize the importance of improving this indicator.
The international trade environment is a complex environment; in the process of cross-border trade (export, import and transit), at least 60 different work procedures can be observed. These procedures increase the cost and time of the business and complicate it. In our country, the concept of trade facilitation has long been considered by various stakeholders in public and private institutions. As far as the Ministry of Industry, Mines and Trade, Customs, Ports and Maritime Organization, and Health and Plant Licensing Organization are concerned, various measures have been taken in the field of trade facilitation. Some of the measures taken in the country include the establishment of integrated and electronic systems such as comprehensive trade system and single window, the elimination of some redundant rules and processes in customs and licensing organizations, and the formation of trade facilitation working groups and deregulation boards. However, despite the efforts of policy makers to improve this index, Iran's rank has been low. No comprehensive model or studies have been presented to improve this index in Iran.
Methodology: This research aims to achieve a model to facilitate cross-border trade. In other words, it seeks to identify the components of trade facilitation and their relationships and to create a balance among them, which facilitates and increases supervision. Therefore, the questions to answer are ‘What are the main components of improving the business environment and facilitating cross-border trade in the country?’, ‘What is the relationship between the components and the indicators of trade facilitation?’, ‘What is their impact on the business environment?’ and ‘What are the main obstacles to improving the business environment and facilitating the country's trade?’ It can help to establish comprehensive measures in this area.
To identify variables and the relationships among them, the research methodology is qualitative and based on the grounded theory. The research also benefits from the expertise of the private, governmental and academic sectors as the main stakeholders of trade facilitation. Accordingly, 21 experts have been interviewed on the issue. The results of the data analysis through open coding, axial coding and selective coding have led to the presentation of a trade facilitation model.
Results and Discussion: In this research, 312 concepts, 25 categories and 7 macro categories have been extracted and examined. The components of determining business and economic development strategies, which can facilitate the trade, are the creation of processes, coordination of regulations and creation of sustainable supply chains. Simplifying and coordinating the model is a desirable outcome in business facilitation. Determining long-term and stable strategies in economic and trade fields is one of the items that, according to the research results, should be emphasized so as to facilitate trade in the country. According to the interviewees, there is no clear and defined model for these strategies in the country. These factors have not been mentioned in other research works as the priorities of business facilitation. Another factor suggested as an obstacle to trade facilitation in the country is the emphasis on the close monitoring of documents and procedures. This has led to the fact that most of the existing laws are strictly codified and the procedures are time-consuming and increase the cost of commercial transactions. In the research model proposed here, an attempt is made to create a balance between monitoring and facilitation. Indeed, trade facilitation is achieved through simplification and coordination while paying attention to regulatory procedures. In the research conducted in other countries, the contrast between these two issues is not very noticeable, but, during the interviews, the stakeholders mentioned this issue in Iran frequently.
Conclusion: The purpose of the research is to provide a model to facilitate cross-border trade in the country. With a qualitative method based on the grounded theory, various stakeholders were interviewed to determine the components of business facilitation. In the next step, using axial and selective coding, the relationships among the components were determined, and the research model was presented. In this study, 312 concepts, 25 categories and 7 macro categories were extracted. As the components were identified, there emerged a lot of overlap between them and those in other studies.
In addition to interviews for data collection, direct observation and document analysis were done too. The research emphasizes the knowledge and experience of the interviewees. Therefore, it can be expected to provide deeper insights into trade facilitation by using broader sources and making observations over a longer period of time. Like most studies based on the data theory, the findings of this study are based on the views and experiences of individuals and the conditions of the research environment, so the results can be generalized to similar conditions and environments. There are certain suggestions to make for future research. Firstly, due to the fact that the coefficient of influence and the dependence of the components are not determined in the model of this study, it is advisable to determine the relationships among those components using quantitative methods such as interpretive-structural modeling. In addition, considering that a comprehensive model has not been presented in the country to create an effective and efficient model for monitoring cross-border trade processes, conducting research in this regard can contribute to trade facilitation. It should be noted that trade facilitation measures are highly interrelated, although they are often cited as independent elements. So, a systematic, integrated, step-by-step approach must be proposed in order for measures to be effective. In this regard, examining the priority of actions and their order using quantitative research methods can help to develop and implement a proper model.