In most countries, both developed and developing, governments, development agencies and United Nations agencies are trying to alleviate trade barriers that hinder the internationalization of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs). There is demand for access to international markets via affordable but efficient national and international logistics solutions offered by specialized service providers. Often, however, international trade remains inaccessible to MSMEs. With its widespread geographic reach and three dimensional network of physical, financial and electronic services, the postal sector can help provide greater openness to international trade.
On the basis of the experience of the "Exporta Fácil" programme first pioneered by Brazil and later implemented by other South American countries, the Universal Postal Union has launched the UPU Easy Export Programme to replicate the already tested methodology and model, with necessary adaptations, in other regions. Between 2002 and 2008, Exporta Fácil enabled over 10,000 small businesses in Brazil, which had never previously exported, to access international markets.
The programme aims at developing a simplified and harmonized export service for MSMEs by using the postal infrastructure.
- To increase the number of small businesses in the country's portfolio of exporters
- To create a simplified postal export process that can be easily used by small businesses and corresponds to the characteristics of the country
- To improve and modernize international trade processes through the postal channel with the institutions involved in the project
- To diversify the range of products exported and increase the number of destination countries
- To raise the profile of the postal sector as an important component of the economy
This programme fits into the strategic push by governments for export and import promotion in the MSMEs sector, to support employment creation, wealth creation, and poverty reduction. It would also support the formulation of appropriate policy interventions by governments to include the postal infrastructure in their national strategies for economic and social development. At the same time, the project fits into postal operators’ commercial strategies. With declining mail volumes and stiff competition in the communications market, there are tremendous opportunities for postal operators to support e-commerce driven trade-flows and to position themselves as trusted, reliable and affordable business partners for MSMEs.
Depending on the country, implementing the programme might involve the following stakeholders as well as others to be duly identified and brought into the process: international trade agencies; customs authorities; the ministry responsible for the postal sector (infrastructure, transport or communications); ministry responsible for trade, and or small enterprises, ministry responsible for foreign affairs, institutions and associations supporting small businesses, and financial market or foreign exchange (forex) regulators. It is therefore important that the project is coordinated by an institution with authority to assemble all these stakeholders together.
Application form to act as a pilot country22.02.2020The application form allows member countries to formally express their interest in piloting the UPU Easy Export Programme. On the form, the country will also provide a key contact person for matters related to the project. However, a completed application does not mean that the country will be selected to participate in the pilot project. Each application will be reviewed against a set of selection criteria to determine whether the country is in a position to successfully implement the pilot.
Questionnaire on conditions in member countries22.02.2020The purpose of this questionnaire is to gather some initial information from UPU member countries on the players involved in export processes; the various aspects of the services offered; the characteristics of micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs); the participation of public and private postal operators in export processes; and, above all, the country's interest in developing activities to increase the participation of MSMEs in international trade through a simplified export system. The initial information obtained will provide a picture of the environment in which the UPU Easy Export Programme for MSMEs is to be piloted. The information gathered will be used to facilitate the design and development of tailored plans, approaches and technical assistance programmes that suit the roll-out of the programme in different country conditions. The questionnaire should be completed even if a member country is not considering taking part in the pilot project.