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WCO-WTO cooperation at the Working Group on WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA)

12 febrero 2015

The Ambassador of the Philippines to the WTO, Mr. Esteban Conejos, in his capacity as Chair of the WTO Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation, spoke at the WCO Working Group on WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (WGTFA) meeting in Brussels on 12 February 2015. He provided an update on WTO Member progress in ratification and notification of categorization of the TFA, and also joined the panel session on National Committee on Trade Facilitation. In congratulating his role in advancing the WTO TFA agenda, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya appreciated his presence as showing a strong message from the WTO on its willingness to work with the WCO at the international level and between Customs and trade ministries at the national level.

In his keynote speech Ambassador Conejos praised the rapid action of the WCO in supporting the implementation of TFA with the adoption of the Dublin Resolution in December 2013 and the launch of the Mercator Programme in June 2014. He underlined the important role the WCO WGTFA plays in supporting the implementation of the TFA through sharing WCO tools and best practices. During the panel session on stakeholder engagement, he shared his experience in the Philippines on how best to organize coordination among trade ministry, Customs and other border agencies, as well as the private sector. The WGTFA Chair, Ms. Gugu DLAMINI-ZWANE from Swaziland, also shared her home country’s experience. Both highlighted the essential role of Customs in providing support to other agencies with WCO tools and best practices in a cooperative spirit when it comes to the implementation of the TFA.

There were 200 participants including Customs and trade delegates from 80 countries and representatives from international organizations and business in the WGTFA, showing the international Customs community’s eagerness to implement the TFA in a consistent manner.