WCO and ADB boost partnership on trade facilitation

04 May 2010


WCO and ADB boost partnership on trade facilitation

Tashkent (Uzbekistan), 4 May 2010

Press Release

Asian Development Bank (ADB) President Haruhiko Kuroda and World Customs Organization (WCO) Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to strengthen the strategic partnership between their two organizations to facilitate trade in Asia and the Pacific.

The MOU, signed at the ADB's 43rd Annual Meeting in Tashkent (Uzbekistan), aims to build a more active partnership to make it easier to conduct international trade, which in turn will support long-term, sustainable, and inclusive development.

The MOU will see the two institutions cooperating more closely in areas relating to Customs modernization and reform, capacity building, and research and analysis. It will also boost information and knowledge sharing, staff cooperation, production of joint publications and other knowledge products.

"Facilitating and securing global trade will have a substantial economic impact on ADB’s developing member countries and will further deepen regional economic integration in the region," said Mr. Kuroda. "Under the MOU, ADB's infrastructure finance and regional cooperation programs and WCO's technical Customs competency will complement each other and improve the efficiency of our efforts to facilitate trade," he added.

Many companies in Asia face difficulty in conducting cross-border trade because of inefficient Customs practices, which keep the costs of doing business high. Improving Customs practices and establishing international trade supply chains will boost trade in intermediate and final goods, helping companies to grow their businesses and create more jobs.

"The MOU between the ADB and the WCO is another important step in the long history of cooperation between our two organizations and will further solidify our relationship while forming the backbone for future collaboration on important global and regional issues,” said Mr. Mikuriya. "Our joint efforts to enhance trade facilitation and ensure a secure trade supply chain will bolster economic recovery and stability, as well as increase revenue security."

The ADB and the WCO have been collaborating since the early 2000s on transport and trade facilitation in Asia, notably through regional cooperation initiatives such as the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) programmes.

The ADB, based in Manila, is dedicated to reducing poverty in Asia and the Pacific through inclusive economic growth, environmentally sustainable growth, and regional integration. Established in 1966, it is owned by 67 members – 48 from the region. In 2009, it approved a total of US dollars 16.1 billion in financing operations through loans, grants, guarantees, a trade finance facilitation programme, equity investments, and technical assistance projects. It also mobilized co-financing amounting to US dollars 3.2 billion.

The WCO is the only international intergovernmental organization with a unique focus on customs matters. Based in Brussels, it has 176 member Customs administrations that collectively process approximately 98% of world trade. With its worldwide membership, the WCO is recognized as the voice of the international Customs community. Committed to facilitating trade, the WCO's revised Kyoto Convention on the simplification and harmonization of Customs procedures is recognized as a primary source of reference by WTO trade facilitation negotiators, and its technical competency enables it to build and support sustainable capacity in Customs.

More information

Karen Lane
Media Relations
Asian Development Bank
Tel. +63 2 632 6138
Mobile: +63 920 938 6487
Email: klane(at)adb.org
Grant Busby / Laure Tempier
Media Relations
World Customs Organization
Tel +32 2 209 92 11
Email: communication(at)wcoomd.org