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35th UN/CEFACT Forum Webinar: Engaging private sector in National Trade Facilitation Bodies, What works and what does not work?

35th UN/CEFACT Forum Webinar: Engaging private sector in National Trade Facilitation Bodies, What works and what does not work?

06 October 2020 13:00 - 15:30
Webinar Geneva Switzerland

This Webinar will be taking place on 6 October 2020 from 13:00 to 15:00hrs, during the 35th United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) Forum (5-16 October 2020).

Engaging private sector in National Trade Facilitation Bodies, What works and what does not work?


Governments worldwide have set up National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFB) to coordinate, oversee and plan trade facilitation reforms. These bodies pursue agreement, cooperation and collaboration between stakeholders from the private and public sectors. Private sector participants include importers and exporters from all industry sectors and all types/sizes of business as well as intermediaries such as freight forwarders, carriers, customs agents, banks, and insurance companies.

A successful engagement of the private sector in a NTFB is essential to its sustainability and ultimately to the successful implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and other trade facilitation reforms. UNECE Recommendation n° 4 on National Trade Facilitation Bodies stresses that impediments to trade facilitation can only be meaningfully analyzed and comprehensive solutions devised, with the active involvement of private sector participants.

Surveys of existing NTFBs by the WTO Secretariat and at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) show that the private sector is frequently represented in NTFBs through associations and sometimes on the Body’s board level. At the same time, both private sector actors and NTFB staff, report challenges in engaging the private sector at the right level in a continuous manner. Private sector representatives also frequently raise questions with regards to benefits of participation and the contributions they can make?

This webinar shall provide an opportunity to discuss the challenges of engaging the private sector in the activities of an NTFB. It aims to look into some of the barriers and challenges in participation and to present possible solutions and approaches towards an effective engagement. With this webinar UN/CEFACT aims to provide guidance on the effective implementation of UNECE Recommendations No. 4 and No. 40 and WTO TFA Article 23.2. The findings of the webinar will inform the future work of UN/CEFACT in this area.


This webinar aims to contribute to strengthening the organizational framework and performance of National Trade Facilitation Bodies—Committees or working groups—by sharing experiences and current practices. Speakers from the public and private sector familiar with the work and challenges of NTFBs will address the following questions:

  • How best to engage representatives from the private sector in the activities of a NTFB?
  • How to ensure an equal voice of the different private sector interests, in particular SMEs?
  • How to leverage private sector competence and contributions?
  • How to deliver on reform expectations of the private sector?


13:00 – 13:10 – Opening Address and overview
°  Ms. Maria Ceccarelli, Chief, Trade Facilitation Section, UNECE   BIO
°  Ms. Estelle Igwe, UN/CEFACT Vice-Chair   BIO

Session 1: Current practices and challenges
Moderator: Mr. Jake Schostag, UN/CEFACT Domain Coordinator
13:10 – 13:20 – Private sector participation in NTFB: Facts and anecdotes?
°  Mr. Pierre Bonthonneau, International Trade Centre   BIO 
13:20 – 13:30 – Challenges, barriers, and benefits for private sector
°  Ms. Katie Weiner, Director, Global Customs Regulatory Affairs, Cargill     BIO
13:30 – 13:40 – Viewpoint of small and medium enterprises
°  Ms. Lisa McAuley, CEO, Global Trade Professionals Alliance (GTPA)    BIO
13:40 – 13:50 – Examples of challenges encountered?
°  Mr. Vincent Safari, Coordinator Rwanda NTFC   BIO     PPT
13:50 – 14.10 – Questions and Answers

Session 2: Good practices and solutions
Moderator: Ms. Birgit Viohl, UN/CEFACT Domain Coordinator
14:10 – 14:40 – Experiences and solutions from NTFBs
°  Turkey: Mr. Hakki Gurkan, Secretariat, Coordination Committee on Trade Facilitation   BIO  PPT
°  Norway: Ms. Helge Lindrup, Specialist Director   BIO    PPT
    Mr. Robin Gaarder Reese, Advisor, Norwegian customs   BIO    PPT
°  Central Asia: Ms. Larissa Kyslyakova, Transport and Logistics Partnership (TLP)    BIO   PPT
14:25 – 14:35 – Observations from a donor organisations
°  Ms. Benedicte Meille, TFWA Project, World Bank   BIO    PPT
°  Mr. Poul Hansen, Head, Trade Facilitation Section, UNCTAD     BIO  PPT

14:40 – 15:00 – Observations from a donor organizations
°  Ms. Benedicte Meille, TFWA Project, World Bank   BIO  PPT
°  Mr. Poul Hansen, Head, Trade Facilitation Section, UNCTAD    BIO  PPT

15:00 - 15:20 - Questions and Answers

Concluding session
Moderator: Mr. Lance Thompson, Secretary UN/CEFACT   BIO
15:20 – 15:30 – Summary and recommendations for UN/CEFACT