World Bank and IMF Annual Meeting in Istanbul - Aid for Trade Facilitation Workshop -

06 October 2009

World Bank and IMF Annual Meeting in Istanbul

- Aid for Trade Facilitation Workshop -

4 October 2009


At the Aid for Trade Facilitation Workshop on 4 October 2009 in Istanbul, held as part of the Annual Meeting of the Boards of Governors of the World Bank Group and the IMF, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya highlighted Customs modernization efforts in partnership with business, and the resource implications for capacity building.

This high-level workshop organized by World Bank, explored the private-public partnershipbased onproposals presented by representatives of Microsoft, the Global Express Association and IBM.

Mr. Mikuriya appreciated the proposals put forward by the three business sectors, all of whom are also members of WCO Private Sector Consultative Group. He said that the proposals will help WCO Members to implement AEO standards, among others, through a practical step-by-step approach and to move towards a “globally networked Customs” with the availability of pre-arrival information for improved risk assessment.The Secretary General assured the Workshop of the support of the WCO in visualizing these proposals through pilot projects in individual candidate countries, as they could showcase the benefit of Customs reform and thereby increase the availability of aid money forstreamlining border proceduresand generate much-needed support from political leaders and the business community.

Mr. Kitillya, the Commissioner General of the Tanzania Revenue Authority, also made a valid contribution during the Workshop by explaining the constraints that developing countries encounter in Customs reform.In concluding the Workshop, World Bank President, Mr. Robert B. Zoellick, underlined the importance of reducing the cost of cross-border trade as this would contribute toeconomic recovery and create employment.He favored the pilot project approach to create competition for reform using partnerships with the private sector and working with the WCO.

During this annual meeting of Ministers of Finance and Development, Central Bankers, private sector executives and academics, the WCO Secretary General took the opportunity to have a series of talks with other senior policy-makers including: Mr. Zoellick, who appreciated the increasing cooperation with the WCO; Mr. Pascal Lamy (WTO Director General), who welcomed the on-going partnership with the WCO; Mr. Youssef Boutros-Ghali (Egyptian Minister of Finance and Chair of the IMF Advisory Committee), who expressed his expectation for and contribution to training human resources through the WCO Regional Training Centre that had been established in his country earlier in the year; and Mr. Pravin Gordhan (South African Minister of Finance), who pledged continuous support for the global Customs community.