• English

Press Releases

For media enquiries, please contact info.ece@unece.org

UNECE and IATA Strengthen Cooperation for Trade Facilitation Implementation

Published: 12 May 2015

The United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the International Air Transport Association (IATA) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to strengthen their support to developing countries seeking to implement the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. 

The Agreement promises enormous potential for countries to reduce transport costs by up to 10% through more efficient facilitation, making them more competitive in the global economy. Specifically for air cargo, countries implementing the Agreement will need to build capacity to facilitate automated and smart border solutions and secure supply chain processes. Through the MoU, UNECE and IATA will help developing countries implement the relevant measures to realize the costs savings.

“The Air Cargo industry ships around 35% of global trade by value. For up to 90% of the ‘transport’ time the goods may actually be on the ground waiting to be processed. Aligning regulation and procedures with global standards and best practices has the potential to deliver major efficiency gains. That’s the aim of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement which presents a great opportunity for our industry to reduce these delays and costs, particularly in developing countries. Together with UNECE, we will work with developing countries to simplify their procedures and enhance their facilities. This is a win-win scenario for everyone – the industry, the economy and the community,” said Tony Tyler, IATA’s Director General and CEO.

“UNECE, through our UN Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT), has worked with the business community for many years to develop trade facilitation recommendations and standards that reduce the cost of doing business. An excellent example of the application of these instruments is the IATA eFreight Programme which reflects UNECE standards. This MoU with IATA will strengthen the implementation of our standards in developing and least developed countries, and as a consequence, help create growth and new jobs,” said Christian Friis Bach, UNECE Executive Secretary.

Specific areas of collaboration include: 

  • Joint promotion of the use of international recommendations and standards and best practices in Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business;
  • Joint outreach activities to support countries in their implementation of such recommendation and standards - subject to available resources
  • Consultation and cooperation in these activities with other international institutions, including the World Customs Organization, World Trade Organization, the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, UNCTAD, ITC, OECD and the International Chamber of Commerce.

Note to editors

IATA is the trade association for the world’s airlines, representing some 250 airlines comprising 84% of total air traffic. 

The Air Cargo industry ships USD 6.8 trillion worth of goods annually, accounting for 35% percent of global trade by value.  

For more information, please contact:


Tom Butterly
Deputy Director, Economic Cooperation and Trade Division

Tel: +41 22 917 11 78
Email: tom.butterly@unece.org


Corporate Communications

Tel: +41 22 770 2967
Email: corpcomms@iata.org

United Nations Economic Commission for Europe

Information Unit

Palais des Nations, 

CH-1211 Geneva 10, Switzerland

Tel.: +41 (0) 22 917 44 44

Fax: +41 (0) 22 917 05 05