Meeting to assess their trade facilitation needs

Solomon Star:

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat in partnership with the World Trade Organization (WTO) is hosting a four-day workshop on the new multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) from 12 to 15 May 2014 in Nadi, Fiji.

The workshop will enable Pacific island Members to better understand the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and update their Trade Facilitation Needs Assessments, including planning the implementation of their commitments to facilitate trade.

“This workshop will allow participants to reach a full understanding of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, and engage with international technical agencies and development partners that provide technical and capacity building assistance in the area of trade facilitation,” says Shiu Raj, Director of the Economic Governance Programme at the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat.

“The workshop will build on the needs assessments undertaken by the Pacific island Members of the WTO in 2013 as Members prepared for the finalisation of the Agreement.”

Jointly funded by the WTO Secretariat, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, and the European Union, the workshop will prepare the Pacific islands WTO members for the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

“The Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat and the WTO have in place a Memorandum of Understanding to collaborate in supporting the Pacific island countries in building their trade-related capacity. The two agencies have agreed to coordinate training and technical assistance activities at the regional level to assist Forum Island Countries enhance their institutional and human capacity in the field of trade,” Mr Raj said.

Other Forum Island Countries will also be attending as observers to gain an understanding of the Agreement and organise their trade facilitation needs.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement seeks to make customs procedures simpler, reducing the barriers to cross-border movement of goods among the WTO member countries.

“This would greatly facilitate access of Pacific exports into the global market as well serve to facilitate regional trade amongst the Pacific island countries,” Director Shiu Raj added.

Several regional and international organisations and development partners including the Oceania Customs Organisation, Office of the Chief Trade Adviser, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and Pacific (UNESCAP), University of the South Pacific, World Customs Organisation, World Bank, the WTO Secretariat, including the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF) Executive Secretariat, are participating in the workshop.

The Pacific island countries are represented by senior officials for customs, trade, legal, quarantine, other border agencies, and private sector representatives.

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