UN meeting looks to accelerate trade facilitation agreement

Wednesday, 2017-03-08 10:37:04
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NDO/VNA—Accelerating the implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement and the UN Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods was a focus of discussions on March 8 at the ongoing UN high-level meeting on improving cooperation on transit and trade facilitation in Hanoi.

The high-level meeting for the Euro-Asia region on improving cooperation on transit and trade facilitation and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development is taking place in Vietnam’s capital city from March 7-9.

Mahmoud Mohieldin, World Bank Group Senior Vice President for the 2030 Development Agenda, United Nations Relations and Partnerships, held that it is necessary to increase cooperation within a country, saying the lack of exchange and coordination among domestic agencies will slow down trade facilitation and affect communities in society, especially the business community.

The WTO trade facilitation agreement took effect on February 22, 2017, marking an important milestone in the global trade system, he said.

The agreement allows countries and international organisations and experts to design numerous programmes to promote national trade in member countries with the ultimate goal of poverty elimination and prosperity, he added.

Counsellor Raul Torres from the WTO Development Division said so far 17 landlocked countries have ratified the agreement, which includes measures to promote free transit, border gate cooperation and information technology for nations without seas.

The utilisation of this agreement will help countries pursue sustainable development, promote trade and develop private capability and international integration.

Regarding the Customs Convention on the International Transport of Goods (TIR), Jens Hugel, Head of Goods Transport and Sustainable Development under the International Road Transport Union, said the TIR benefits not only landlocked and developing countries but also underdeveloped ones.

André Sceia from the TIR Secretariat and the Sustainable Transport Division of the UN Economic Commission for Europe recommended that countries promote harmony in customs clearance procedures at national border gates.