Congratulating the World Trade Organization on the Trade Facilitation Agreement concluded as part of the “Bali Package”, UNECE Executive Secretary Sven Alkalaj said today that the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe would provide its full support to countries to help them apply the agreed measures.
“From now on, we must focus on implementation,” he said. “UNECE will place all its trade facilitation tools at the disposal of its member States. One very valuable tool we can offer is our Trade Facilitation Implementation Guide, which we launched at the WTO earlier this year”.
UNECE developed this comprehensive Guide in collaboration with other key international organizations in trade facilitation such as the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD). A web-based interactive tool, it also includes a direct linkage between the WTO trade facilitation measures in the Agreement and the support that international organizations can offer. In other words, it’s a one-stop shop where policymakers and implementers can find the most essential trade facilitation information.
Alkalaj said that the large number of recommendations and standards drawn up by the UNECE’s Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) will play a significant role in global trade facilitation.
UNECE, jointly with UNESCAP, is already supporting policymakers and experts in designing integrated national and regional strategies for facilitating trade. Through the Network of Experts for Paperless Trade (UNNExT), UNECE provides a unique platform where policymakers from Europe, Central Asia and Asia-Pacific exchange expertise and gain competence in planning and applying advanced trade facilitation measures. During 2014 and 2015, the five regional commissions of the United Nations will provide UNNExT guides and training to policymakers and traders worldwide.
UNECE has been developing trade facilitation recommendations and tools for over 50 years. Trade facilitation can bring huge benefits to countries in terms of: reduced costs both for governments and for trade; increased efficiency and predictability; and enhanced transparency. For example, implementation of the Single Window for Trade (UNECE Recommendation 33) in Thailand, along with various other trade facilitation measures, has brought about estimated annual savings of US$ 1.5 billion.
Further, the Greek Trade Facilitation Strategy, developed with support from UNECE, is expected to reduce time to export by 50% and costs by 20% by 2015, thus leading to a 10% increase in the value of exports, and 80,000 new jobs.
Developing a National Single Window for Import, Export and Logistics in Thailand