At the invitation of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty (APPG-TOP), WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya spoke at the High Level Roundtable on the subject "Africa and the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA): from Ratification to Implementation", which took place in London on 8 March 2017 at the United Kingdom (UK) Parliament.
The High Level Roundtable was attended by Government Ministers from the UK, Ghana, Nigeria and Rwanda as well as senior representatives from relevant international organizations and donor institutions. The event was held on the occasion of the inaugural meeting of the Commonwealth Trade Ministers.
The Roundtable was opened by the APPG-TOP Co-Chairs: Mr. Peter Lilly, MP; and Lord Bates, UK Minister of State for International Development (DFID). After a presentation on the state of play by Ms. Suja Rishikesh Mavroidis, WTO Director, Market Access Division, Secretary General Mikuriya spoke about the WCO's contribution to the TFA implementation, which included an Implementation Guidance tool, a TFA Working Group and the Mercator Programme.
He also explained the lessons learned especially, the importance of political support for Customs reform in terms of organizational and people aspects and, in particular, in transversal areas such as the Single Window, the Time Release Study and border cooperation, which require coordination with other government agencies, which have often been identified as difficult areas in the categorization exercise by TFA acceding countries.
Donor collaboration was the topic most mentioned by participants and in this regard, the WCO took the opportunity to thank Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) in the UK for its financial and human support.