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WTO 11th Ministerial Conference, Side Event: Advancing Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade for Sustainable Growth

9 December 2017

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Date: Saturday, 9 December 2017 from 10.00 to 12.00 am
Venue: Sheraton hotel, Salon Auditorio Rio de la Plata, San Martin 1225/1275, Buenos Aires, Argentina

This side event is jointly organized by the United Nations Regional Commissions.

With the rapid increase of international trade, thanks in part to the reduction of tariffs and quotas, it has soon become evident that for countries to benefit from open global markets, it is necessary to address the pressing challenge of outdated, complex and inefficient trade procedures. Although trade facilitation is not a novel issue, the recent entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (February 2017) has brought it right at the heart of the regional and global trade agenda.

There is strong evidence in fact that by simplifying and modernizing trade procedures, countries can become more competitive and increase their overall trade flows, resulting in higher state revenue, along with the other socio-economic benefits of increased trade, such as job creation, poverty reduction, and improved quality of life, thus contributing to achieving the SDGs of UN Agenda 2030. This is particular important to businesses in developing and transition economies, and to ensure that they can benefit, it is essential to understand the level of implementation of trade facilitation measures, and how the implementation process can be supported and further advanced.

How can trade facilitation best sustain sustainable growth? Given that trade costs within and between most developing regions remain much higher than those that prevail between developed countries, what are the specific measures that need implementation support? What are the related challenges and opportunities?

Based on the key finding of the 2017 Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation, the five UN Regional Commissions (UNRCs) will present best approaches and success stories, and will discuss lessons learned and ways forward. The event will illustrate the development impact of trade facilitation interventions by the UNRCs in areas such as streamlining border clearance procedures; creating synergies between trade facilitation and quality control and assurance; reducing transaction costs; implementing international standards for paperless trade and other innovative trade facilitation approaches. It will also provide the opportunity to hear from countries of the five regions about good practices and lessons learned related to the implementation of specific measures of the WTO TFA, and the strategic priorities for advancing trade facilitation and e-commer

Welcome and opening

  • Mr. Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary a.i.
    United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America (ECLAC)

Session 1: Where do we stand with the implementation of trade facilitation and paperless trade: evidence from the five UN Regions 

Moderator: Mr. Mario Cimoli, Deputy Executive Secretary a.i., ECLAC

  • The Global Survey on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation
    Background and methodology, and evidence from Asia and the Pacific
    Yann Duval, Chief of Trade Facilitation Unit
    United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP)
  • Evidence from Africa
    David Luke, Coordinator of the African Trade Policy Centre
    United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA)
  • Evidence from North America, Europe and Central Asia
    Maria Rosaria Ceccarelli, Chief of Trade Facilitation Section
    United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (ECE)
  • Evidence from in Latin America and the Caribbean 
    Sebastian Herreros, Economic Affairs Officer
    United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC)
  • Evidence from West Asia
    Maria Teresa Pisani, Economic Affairs Officer, Trade Facilitation Section (ECE)
    on behalf of United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA)

Q&A Session

Session 2: What are the good practices and lessons learned in implementing specific measures of the WTO TFA Agreement? What are the strategic priorities to further advance trade facilitation and paperless trade?  

Moderator: H.E. Andrew Staines, Ambassador and Deputy Permanent Representative to the WTO, United Kingdom

  • Republic of Moldova – H.E. Octavian Calmic, Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Economy and Infrastructure
  • Kingdom of Morocco - Saïd Maghraoui Hassani, Director Trade Remedies and Regulation, Ministry of Industry, Investment, trade and Digital Economy
  • Argentina - María Noel Ferrer, Legal Coordinator and Fabiola Cochello , Technical Coordinator, National Directorate for Trade Facilitation, Ministry of Production
  • WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) – Sheri Rosenow, Senior Advisor 

Q&A Session

Closing remarks 

The 2017 Global Report and the five Regional Reports on Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade, aim at providing insightful information for policy makers to harness trade as a key means of implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, and relevant goals and targets of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Maria Teresa Pisani
Trade Facilitation Section
Economic Cooperation and Trade Division
e-mail: Maria-Teresa.Pisani@unece.org

Amelia Delle Foglie
e-mail: amelia-delle.foglie@unece.org