WCO’s Role in Supporting TFA Implementation at the 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade

01 July 2015

At the invitation of WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya attended the Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade at the WTO in Geneva from 30 June to 2 July, and spoke about the WCO’s role, and that of Customs, in supporting the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) during the opening session of the first day of the Conference.

The theme of the 5th Global Review was "Reducing Trade Costs for Inclusive, Sustainable Growth". The 3-day event brought together more than 1000 participants from around the world, including heads of international organizations, ministers, various governmental agencies, private sector representatives and civil society.

Opening the Conference, WTO Director-General Azevêdo spoke about high costs arising from delays at the border, and the detrimental impact such delays had on trade. Furthermore, the burden of high trade costs fell heaviest on the poorest countries, the smallest firms and the lowest income consumers. 

Secretary General Mikuriya stressed the importance of not reinventing the wheel, explaining the benefits of using existing international standards, instruments and tools in implementing the TFA, including the WCO Revised Kyoto Convention on the Simplification and Harmonization of Customs procedures. He outlined the benefits of WCO Time Release Studies (TRS), which include a more rapid identification of bottlenecks and monitoring of the performance of Customs’ and that of other stakeholders at the border, with the aim to expedite procedures and thus contribute to a reduction in trade costs.

The WCO provided further information to all interested participants at an exhibition stand, along with other international organizations and development partners. WCO officers were on standby to describe the numerous WCO Capacity Building and assistance projects and programmes, including the Mercator Programme, designed to assist Members in the Trade Facilitation domain, including in the implementation of the TFA.

Whilst in Geneva, the Secretary General arranged bilateral meetings with various WCO partners.

For further information on the 5th Global Review of Aid for Trade you may want to visit the WTO website: Click here