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WTO NEWS: 1998 PRESS RELEASES

PRESS/93
3 March 1998

Major Companies to participate in WTO Trade Facilitation Symposium

Some of the world's leading corporations will present the practical problems traders face when moving goods across borders during the WTO Symposium on Trade Facilitation on 9-10 March 1998 at the new WTO conference facility.

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Among the panellists at the Symposium are representatives from the United States' Federal Express, General Motors, General Electric Information Systems and Mattel; the Netherlands' Shell; Switzerland's Gondrand AG; India's Lemuir Group; United Kingdom's SITPRO and Marinade Ltd.; Xerox Brazil; the Bank of Botswana; and Malaysia's Multimedia Development Corporation.

Also participating are the following industry groups: the Federation of German Industries, French Wine and Spirits Exporters, Federation of Dutch Entrepreneurs and the British Services Association.

NGO participants include the International Chamber of Commerce, International Air Transport Association (IATA), International Chamber of Shipping, International Road Transport Union, the International Union of Railways, Lima Chamber of Commerce, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce and FIATA.

The WTO Director-General, Mr. Renato Ruggiero, will give the opening address. The Symposium, to be chaired by WTO Deputy Director-General Anwarul Hoda, will also feature presentations by the following intergovernmental organizations: the UN Economic Commission for Europe, UNCTAD, the World Customs Organization, the International Trade Centre UNCTAD/WTO, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the WTO.

The WTO Symposium aims to identify the main areas where traders face obstacles when moving goods across borders by providing a direct interface between the practical level (traders) and the trade policy level (officials in capitals and in Geneva). It is intended to place WTO members in a position to move to the phase of analytical work on trade facilitation, in order to assess the scope for WTO rules in this area, as set out in the WTO Singapore Ministerial Declaration.

Attached is the full agenda of the Symposium, including the complete list of speakers. For more information, please contact Mr. Markus Jelitto of the WTO, tel. 739.5885/fax: 739.5770.

Purpose:    The objective of the Symposium on Trade Facilitation is to help identify the main areas where traders face obstacles when moving goods across borders. The Symposium will provide a direct interface between the practical level (traders) and the trade policy level (officials in capitals and in Geneva) in this respect and is intended to place WTO Members in a position to move to the phase of analytical work on trade facilitation, in order to assess the scope for WTO rules in this area, as set out in the Singapore Declaration.

Organizational Matters:    The Symposium will take place in the new WTO Council Room. The Director-General will deliver an opening address. Deputy Director-General Mr. Anwarul Hoda will chair the Symposium. back to top

Monday, 9 March 1998

Chairman: Mr. Anwarul Hoda, Deputy Director-General, WTO

9.15:

Opening Address
Mr. Renato Ruggiero, Director-General, WTO

9.45:

I. Introduction of the trade transaction process

Factual overview of the different stages of the transaction chain.
Mr. Fermin Cuza, Mattel Inc., USA
Mr. Michael Doran, SITPRO Chief Executive, UK

II. Issue-oriented presentations by the private sector and other experts

In the four Panels of this section, speakers will give short (10-15 min.) presentations to deepen the understanding of the main issues in the respective sector, and to outline the most pressing problems for business in the respective area. At the end of each Panel, the moderator will open the floor for a limited number of concrete remarks and questions (circa. 20 minutes) from the audience and will provide a short summary (5 minutes) of the panel discussion.

10.45:

PANEL 1 Physical Movement of Consignments (Transport and Transit)

Moderator: Mr. Abdelmalek Dahmani, President FIATA, Tunisia

a. Problems of freight-forwarders and providers of multimodal transport in facilitating trade with reference to regional differences in the transport sector.
Mr. Raghu Dayal, Corporate Director, Lemuir Group, India
Mr. Juerg Hammer, Gondrand AG, Switzerland

b. Differences between express carriage of goods and non-express freight forwarding; overview of the main problems express carriers face in different world regions.
Mr. Kenneth Glenn, FedEX, USA

c. The main rules and practices which govern the air transport sector - International Air Transport Association (IATA).
Mr. Robert Davidson, Assistant Director, Facilitation Services, IATA

d. The main rules and practices which govern the sea transport sector - International Chamber of Shipping (ICS).
Mr. Brian Parkinson, Head of Trade Facilitation, ICS

e. The main rules and practices which govern road transport and road transit -International Road Transport Union (IRU).
Dr. Peter Krausz, Central and Eastern Europe Officer, IRU

f. The main rules and practices which govern the rail transport sector -International Union of Railways (UIC).
Dr. Manfred Erdmann, Freight Director, UIC

13.00 - 14.30 Lunch break

14.30:

PANEL 2 Import and Export Procedures and Requirements, including Customs and Border Crossing Problems

Moderator: Mr. Klaus Krinke, Federation of German Industries, Germany

a. Private sector views on the most important practical problems their businesses face in the area of customs and border-crossing.
Mr. Juan Antonio Morales Bermudez, Lima Chamber of Commerce, Peru
Mr. Danny Meyer, President, Zimbabwe National Chamber of Commerce, Zimbabwe
Mr. David Wakeford, ICI, UK
Mr. Nicolas Ozanam, Deputy Director General, French Wine and Spirits Exporters, France

b. Practical problems for traders in the area of customs valuation.
Mr. Peter Zubrin, General Motors, USA

c. Practical problems for traders through customs irregularities - costs for business, consumers, and governments and the impact of customs irregularities on small and medium-size enterprises.
Mr. David Phillips, Transparency International

d. Persisting obstacles for trade caused through documentation requirements and procedures.
Mr. Adriaan Snoodijk, Federation of Dutch Entrepreneurs (VNO-NCW) and UNICE, Netherlands

17.00:

PANEL 3 Payments, Insurance and other Financial requirements which affect Cross-Border Movement of Goods in International Trade

Moderator: Mr. Radu Negrea, Romanian Banking Association, Romania

a. Overview of the facilities and problems related to payments, insurance and other financial requirements in the developed world.
Mr. Norman Rose, British Services Association, UK

b. Overview of the facilities and problems related to payments, insurance and other financial requirements in the developing world.
Mr. Henrique Rzezinski, Xerox Brazil, Brazil

c. The role of exchange control formalities and other formalities related to payments, insurance and other financial requirements which could create obstacles to trading, with reference to opportunities to reform.
Mr. Moses Pelaelo, Bank of Botswana, Botswana

d. Financial requirements related to international trade - Avenues to reform; Experiences with "Bolero" and its potential for the future.
Mr. ┼ke Nilson, Marinade Ltd., UK

Tuesday, 10 March 1998

Chairman: Mr. Anwarul Hoda, Deputy Director-General, WTO

9.15:

PANEL 4 Electronic Facilities and their Importance for Facilitating International Trade

Moderator: Mr. Christiaan van der Valk, ICC

a. The importance of electronic facilities for the conduct of international trade - A view from a provider of such services.
Mr. Alec Absalom, GE Information Systems, USA

b. The importance of electronic facilities for the conduct of international trade - A view from a user of such services.
Mr. Nick Mansfield, Shell, Netherlands

c. The role of EDIFACT for facilitating international trade, with reference to its potential for small and medium-size enterprises.
Dr. Nadadur Janardhan, ESCAP

d. Modernization of customs administrations by use of information technology - The Chilean experience.
Mr. Enrique Fanta Ivanovic, Director General of Customs, Chile

e. Trade Facilitation and Electronic Commerce - A perspective from Asia.
Dr. Chun-Kwong Han, Multimedia Development Corporation, Malaysia

III. Presentations by intergovernmental organizations

The organizations specified below will identify the existing instruments relevant to trade facilitation in their area and/or the practical assistance they are giving. They will indicate from their perspective the reasons for the existing problems and explain how far their work has so far addressed these problems.

11.00:       UN/ECE

Mr. Henri Martre, Chairman of CEFACT,
Ms. Carol Cosgrove-Sacks, Director Trade Division, UN/ECE

11.20: UNCTAD

Mr. Hans Carl, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNCTAD

11.40: WCO

Mr. Douglas Tweddle, Director, Compliance and Facilitation Directorate

12.00: ITC

Mr. Carlos F. Cattani, Senior Adviser on Trade Finance Services

12.20: IMF

Mr. Adrien Goorman, Senior Economist, Tax Administration Division

12.40: World Bank

Mr. Jayanta Roy, Principal Economist, Middle East and North Africa Department

13.00 - 14.30 Lunch break

14.30: WTO

Mr. Heinz Opelz, Director, Market Access Division, WTO

15.00:

IV. General discussion

Open exchange among all participants on the issues raised during the Symposium, possible conclusions that may be drawn, as well as on future work on trade facilitation in various fora, including the WTO.

18.00:

Concluding remarks by the Chairman