Under the Mercator Programme and supported by the EUROCUSTOMS fund, the WCO and the Indirect Taxation Authority (ITA) of Bosnia and Herzegovina organized a ‘National Workshop on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement – awareness raising, identifying key priorities for implementation and supporting the establishment of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation’. The workshop was held from 14 – 16 February 2017 in Banja Luka. Twenty five representatives from the Customs, inspection agencies and the private sector took part in the workshop
The objectives of the workshop were to introduce WCO instruments and tools related to the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), to identify key priorities for Customs to develop an Action Plan based on the self-assessment already carried out and to support the Customs and other stakeholders to establish a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF).
The participants benefitted from in-depth discussion on existing challenges and opportunities with regard to TFA technical measures which were placed under category B and C with a particular focus on the importance of NCTF for effective coordination.
The workshop consisted of presentations and break-out group discussions which enabled participants to identify possible ways forward in complying with the TFA which would contribute to the overall process of accession of the Republic of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the WTO. Based on the discussions, the workshop participants developed a draft terms of reference for a future NCTF. Some of the key recommendations stemming from the workshop include: update of the current strategic and action plans to include the identified priority actions, active involvement of Customs and other stakeholders in the future NCTF, consideration of accession to the Revised Kyoto Convention.
Bosnia and Herzegovina a WCO member since 2008 and a signatory to the CEFTA is in the process of acceding to the WTO.