The last of four workshops for the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) of Côte d’Ivoire validated and finalized their preparations to implement the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA). Organized by the Trade Hub and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the Aug. 15-18 meeting in Grand Bassam drew 30 participants representing government agencies, business and civil society.
The purpose of the TFA, which entered into force this month [August 2017], is to simplify, modernize and harmonize export and import processes. WTO estimates show that full implementation of the TFA could reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3% and boost global trade by up to $1 trillion per year, with the biggest gains in the poorest countries.
Since September 2016, the Trade Hub and UNCTAD have held trainings for NTFCs in Cote d’Ivoire and Senegal on ensuring uniform understanding of Trade Facilitation, defining the legal mandate and functions of the NTFC, and developing the mid- to long-term WTO-TFA implementation plan.
At the August meeting in Cote d’Ivoire, the Director General of the Ministry of Commerce, Dr. Kaladji Fadiga thanked USAID, Trade Hub and UNCTAD for their support and said the committee had come far from the year before.
“The outcome will depend on our commitment and on our ability to direct our activities,” Dr. Fadiga said. “The right application of the provisions will be an asset to increase our competitiveness, reduce our costs, and grow our trade so that Côte d’Ivoire can benefit efficiently from the agreement.”
During the meeting, participants validated a communication plan developed by UNCTAD with their input to guide the committee in disseminating information to various actors involved in trade facilitation activities. They learned about managing TFA implementation, including information about trade facilitation indicators, monitoring and evaluation of the process. They also validated a training plan developed earlier with their input to guide future capacity-building activities. Finally, they discussed key steps to ensure the sustainability of the NTFC and implementation of WTO-TFA measures. For more information, please refer to this article about the Trade Hub’s previous NTFC workshops in Côte d’Ivoire and Senegal.