First participation of WCO in Aid-for-Trade Advisory Group meeting

18 abril 2011

WTO, Geneva, 12 April 2011

Following the memorable discussions during the first Capacity Building Committee in September 2010 when key note speaker Helen Clark, UNDP, had so eloquently pointed out the need for Customs to contribute to reaching the Millennium Development Goals, the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) and the Secretary General of the WCO - as part of the follow-up work - agreed on closer involvement of the WCO in the work of the Aid-for-Trade Advisory Group.

The Aid-for-Trade Initiative aims to help developing countries, particularly least-developed countries, develop the trade-related skills and infrastructure that is needed to implement and benefit from trade agreements and to expand their trade. An Aid-for-Trade Work Programme for the years 2010-2011 was issued in November 2009 and i.a. includes a number of Aid-for-Trade meetings culminating in the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade in Geneva on 18-19 July 2011.

The Aid-for-Trade Advisory Group – as its name says – provides advice on the Work Programme and is composed out of participants from UN and other International Organizations, Development Banks and Private Sector representatives. On 12 April, the WCO, represented by its Deputy Director Capacity Building Heike Barczyk, participated for the first time in one of their meetings – and was heartily welcomed. The meeting focused on preparations, including the draft annotated agenda for the Third Global Review of Aid for Trade in which the WCO is going to be represented on highest management level.

The WCO has recently supported the Aid-for-Trade initiative by providing 4 case studies on success stories and lessons learnt in Customs reform and modernization processes – the studies dealt with performance measurement, the use of the Columbus Programme methodology, the WCO Time Release Study as well as the WCO Data Model and WCO Single Window Data Harmonization Guidelines.

Further information on the Aid-for Trade initiative can be found on the WTO webpage: www.wto.org.