Responding to the clear needs of developing, least-developed and transition economies for technical assistance, capacity building and support in implementing and securing long term benefits from the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA); the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE), along with other key international organizations and development partners [International Trade Centre (ITC); Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD); United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA),World Bank Group (WB) and World Customs Organization (WCO)], reaffirmed in a joint statement today their comprehensive and coordinated support to such countries - in close collaboration with the WTO and the donor community.
Signatories to this joint statement committed to assisting developing, transition and least-developed countries, drawing on their respective strengths and areas of expertise. This support will include assistance in: categorizing measures under the TFA; establishing National Trade Facilitation Committees; creating faster and more efficient cross border and regulatory procedures; as well as longer term planning and support in implementing comprehensive reform programmes built on the TFA measures. They committed to continuing to make available, to all countries, the trade facilitation tools, recommendations and standards they produce.
The signing agencies also reiterated their belief that the TFA could provide extensive benefits to developing, transition and least developed economies, including: enhanced participation in global supply and value chains; improved competitiveness; increased transparency; greater integration into the global economy; and significant economic growth and development.
Commenting on the joint statement, the newly appointed UNECE Executive Secretary, Christian Friis Bach, highlighted how this coordinated approach shows the willingness of international organizations to “work as one” in order to help developing, transition and least-developed countries to reap real and sustainable benefits from the Agreement.
Mr Friis Bach further emphasised that all UNECE recommendations, standards and tools for trade facilitation, including those developed by UNECE’s Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), are freely available to all UN member States. These can be accessed at www.unece.org/trade ; www.unece.org/cefact.html; and http://tfig.unece.org/
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