Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements

TRADE FACILITATION: FACT SHEET

Trade facilitation fact sheet

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I. SUPPORT FOR TRADE FACILITATION NEGOTIATIONS

WHAT is the support for Trade Facilitation negotiations

  • It is an initiative to assist WTO Members and Observers to participate more effectively in the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations and to assess national trade facilitation needs and priorities. Regional workshops to support this initiative are organized in each of the different WTO technical assistance regions. They consist of interactive training sessions with presentations, films, panel discussions and extensive working group exercises covering all aspects of the Trade Facilitation negotiations.

  • The objective of the negotiations on Trade Facilitation is to clarify and improve three articles of GATT with the purpose of easing customs procedures and facilitating the movement, release and clearance of goods. This would be achieved by cutting bureaucracy and improving the functioning of customs administrations and border procedures.

  • The workshops are delivered by WTO trade facilitation specialists in cooperation with officials from the World Customs Organization, the UN Conference on Trade and Development, the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. In some workshops, officials from relevant regional organizations also participate and act as working group facilitators.

WHO benefit form this support

  • Beneficiaries are WTO Members and Observers that are developing countries, least-developed countries and economies in transition.

  • Participants are government officials nominated by their governments, and representative of regional organizations. Government are invited to send two officials: one from trade and one from Customs. The workshop typically accommodate 50 participants.

  

II. TECHNICAL ASSISTANCE FOR SELF ASSESSMENTS OF NEEDS AND PRIORITIES

WHAT is this technical assistance

  • It's a programme to help individual WTO Members and Observers to conduct a self assessment of their national needs and priorities in the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations following a Needs Assessment Guide based on Member's proposals. The goal is to assist with more effective negotiation on the proposed measures, special and differential treatment and technical assistance and to help prepare for eventual implementation of the results of the Trade Facilitation negotiations.

  • The programme is funded by WTO Members through a special trust fund and its offered in addition to the normal WTO technical assistance programme.

WHO benefits

  • Beneficiaries are WTO Members and Observers that are developing countries, least-developed countries or countries that designate themselves as small, low-income economies in transition.

  • Participants are members of the national trade facilitation task force that is made up of officials from all relevant government agencies and representatives of the private sector. Each workshop accommodates between 15 and 20 participants.
     

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