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National Committees on Trade Facilitation

The purpose of this document is to share relevant information on WCO Members' experiences and their roles in the National Committees on Trade Facilitation (NCTFs) for the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The TFA creates a significant opportunity to improve the speed and efficiency of border procedures, thereby reducing trade costs and enhancing participation in the global value chains that characterise international trade today.

Article 23.2 of the TFA requires each WTO Member to establish and/or maintain a NCTF or designate an existing mecha¬nism to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of TFA provisions.

The WCO Policy Commission took a decision in December 2014 to look into gathering further information on the situation of NCTFs and the role of Customs therein. The WCO Secretariat carried out a survey to collect information on Members' national situations and experiences in relation to the establishment of NCTFs.1

This document provides an overview of the findings of the survey, based on responses received from Members. In addition, more detailed practices of six Members (Cape Verde, Nigeria, Oman, Sri Lanka, Swaziland and Sudan) are included as examples in this document. Among other things these Members reported an active role of Customs in the NCTF including holding the chair or vice chair position. Click here for the questionnaire.

The TFA and the related political will to implement its measures and to carry forward the trade facilitation agenda, will bring positive impetus for cooperation of all relevant border agencies and their connectivity through Coordinated Border Management (CBM). CBM has been a long-standing key topic for the WCO and Customs worldwide (among others, CBM also being the WCO focus topic of the current year of 2015). The ability of Customs administrations to successfully imple¬ment TFA provisions will depend largely on their direct engagement, agility and cooperation with other border regulatory agencies.

The WCO Mercator Programme, a Strategic Initiative to Support Trade Facilitation, is specifically designed to assist Mem¬bers to implement trade facilitation measures expeditiously and in a harmonized manner. Its tailor-made assistance sup¬ports among many other areas also the establishment and maintenance of NCTFs should Members identify this area as a Capacity Building need in their country or region.