Other briefing notes:
> Non-agricultural market access (NAMA)
> Intellectual property: geographical indications and biodiversity
> Trade and environment
> Trade facilitation
> Special and differential treatment
> Dispute settlement
> Jargon buster
> Country groupings
> Briefing note on intellectual property: non-violation complaints
Cutting red tape at the border
The aim is to ease trade flows and customs procedures and to facilitate the movement, release and clearance of goods. More specifically, members will clarify and improve three articles of GATT relating to transit, fees and formalities (paperwork and documentation) connected with trade, and transparency of regulations. This is an important addition to the overall negotiation since it would cut bureaucracy and corruption in customs procedures and would speed up trade and make it cheaper by saving millions of dollars.
Hundreds of proposals have been submitted for this purpose, some of them refined several times and almost ready to become parts of the draft agreement. Several coalitions of members, both developing and developed, have been formed after identification of common goals. Several international organizations, including the World Bank and the World Customs Organization, participate in the negotiations as observers. The World Bank is helping developing countries to identify their needs with the aim of providing technical assistance to modernize customs administrations.
All countries are actively involved in the negotiations since everybody is aware of the importance of the issue of trade facilitation in light of the increase of trade around the world. Developing countries are ready to participate as long as the agreement does not involve heavy obligations for them and as long as technical assistance, as contemplated in the mandate, is provided.
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