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Cuban AGR Prepares for Implementing WTO TFA

28 abril 2017

In April 2017, the WCO provided strategic support to the Cuban Aduanas General de la República (AGR) under the Mercator Programme.  A team of WCO experts met with senior and front-line officials and made site visits to operational and commercial areas to evaluate preparedness for implementing the WTO TFA.

Prior to the mission the AGR provided plans, statistics and responses to specific WCO questions. This documentation was assessed and aided preparations of the schedule and agenda for analysing Cuba’s preparedness to implement the WTO TFA.

The AGR was found to be very pro-active in the implementation of the TFA. As well as establishing many programmes, projects and institutional arrangements that will support the TFA, the AGR are regarded highly by the commercial community representatives that were met as well as by the Ministry of Trade representatives. The initiatives and grasp of TFA obligations to implement is motivating other government ministries. One example of AGR’s advanced status is their involvement and influence on the government Sub-Group on Trade. This forum is equivalent in scope and structure to a national committee on trade facilitation (NCTF).

The AGR have been supportive of the TFA since Cuba hosted the National Conference on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in La Habana, on 26 March 2015. The conference was attended by high-level representatives from Customs, from other government agencies related to border management and international trade, and from the business sector. While certain activities were identified to fully implement several articles, there was empirical evidence that obligations under many articles were already embedded practices.