Third round of regional workshops on the WTO TFA continues with the WCO East and Southern Africa/ West and Central Africa Regions

08 December 2021

Over 90 registered participants from 30 Member administrations, Regional Economic Communities (RECs) and WCO Regional Offices for Capacity Building (ROCBs) participated in the WCO East and Southern Africa (ESA) and West and Central Africa (WCA) Regional Online Workshop on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which took place from 1 to 3 December 2021. The Workshop was organized with the financial support of the United Kingdom (UK) Government’s Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office (FCDO), under the framework of HRMC - WCO-UNCTAD Programme.

This Workshop is the second one in the new round of regional workshops, since the entry into force of the TFA in 2017. The Workshop kick-started with updates on the latest developments regarding the TFA. It also focused on the success stories and the challenges Members are facing in implementing the TFA, as well as forms of support provided through the WCO Mercator Programme. Furthermore, the Workshop explored how the COVID-19 pandemic has impacted the international trade facilitation agenda and which measures are particularly relevant for the successful movement of essential goods, including vaccines, across borders. Participants had the opportunity to discuss the implementation monitoring methods at national level by using WCO tools such as the Mercator Maturity Model and the Time Release Study.

With a total of 34 presentations from 16 Member administrations, WTO, RECs and the WCO Secretariat, the participants had an opportunity to hear about the national practices in implementing the different TFA measures, the WCO tools and instruments to support the implementation of the TFA, updates on regional developments from four RECs, as well as areas of the TFA requiring further support in the region. Furthermore, four Mercator Programme Advisors (MPAs) provided their insights and facilitated the Workshop alongside the Secretariat experts.

A number of key lessons were drawn from the Workshop, such as the need for active involvement of the private sector and the need to leverage on the technology to manage the supply chain effectively. Finally, enhanced collaboration within the National Committees on Trade Facilitation came out as critical, especially for accelerating the implementation of border agency cooperation.

The next regional online workshop on the WTO TFA will be held in the Americas and Caribbean (AMS) region in 2022.