Two West African countries take steps towards WTO-TFA

The training workshops identified priorities in implementing the measures according to each country’s level of complexity and the impact they would make in in meeting the main objectives of the WTO-TFA. Photo credit: Jessie Lafourcade, Trade Hub.

In Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire from June 13-16 and in Dakar, Senegal from June 20-23, the Trade Hub contracted the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to partner together to train National Trade Facilitation Committees (NTFCs) on effectively implementing the World Trade Organization-Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO-TFA).

Experts from UNCTAD, the International Trade Centre (ITC) and United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) conducted the training, which attracted a total of 25 participants from Côte d’Ivoire and 23 from Senegal.

The workshops were building on previous ones held in March this year. The June workshops focused on equipping NTFCs members with skills for: correct interpretation of legal implication and obligations of their Category B and C measures, identifying priorities in implementing their Category B and C measures and developing accompanying multi-year implementation plans.

The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. The agreement has several provisions, divided into categories, which WTO member countries must implement to be in compliance.   Category A are provisions that countries have reported as already achieved, Category B are provisions countries implement themselves after a transition period, and Category Care provisions that countries have designated for implementation after a transition period with technical assistance.

“The recent trainings focused on building better understanding of the legal interpretation of specific countries’ category B and C measures of the WTO-TFA,” said Mr. Chongo Mukupa, Trade and Transport Facilitation Specialist at the Hub.

The workshop identified priorities in implementing the measures according to their levels of complexity and the impact they would make in meeting the main objectives of the WTO-TFA. Participants classified Category B and C into immediate, medium and long-term priorities for implementation.

Participants defined roles the NTFCs will play in the implementation of each measure, and identified key indicators for gauging the successful implementation of each measure. They also agreed on the best methods to collect implementation monitoring data and intervals for periodic review. This will ensure that countries remain consistently compliant with WTO-TFA requirements once the measures have been put in place

The multi-year implementation plans with specific time frames will be finalized and adopted in the next seminars slated for August. These plans will reflect national approaches as countries work towards compliance with the WTO-TFA. During the August seminars, participants under the guidance of international experts will develop strategies for external communication and sustainability plans for their NTFCs.

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West Africa Trade and Investment Hub - Accra, Ghana - contact@watradehub.com
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