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Ukraine’s National Trade Facilitation Committee moves into higher gear with UNECE support

Trade facilitation has key importance for improving the governance of the economy of Ukraine – a country with a population of 45 million people at the borders of the European Union and the Eurasian Economic Union, still facing important political, economic and social governance issues.

In order to help Ukraine to unlock its trade potential, UNECE provided the first ever training on the functioning of the newly founded National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) of Ukraine, working with the Government and business community of the country and the Commercial Law Development Programme (CLDP) of the US Department of Commerce. It was combined with the second meeting of Ukraine’s NTFC on 25 October 2018.

This represents a significant step forward on the way to streamlining formalities and documentary procedures – a key area for unlocking trade facilitation and the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Mr Vyacheslav Tsymbal, the NTFC’s Chairman from the Ministry of Economic Development and Trade of Ukraine, recognized that simplifying documentary formalities should be a key area for improvement, underlying success for a number of facilitation measures, such as advance processing or the Single Window for export and import clearance.

Therefore, streamlining formalities was put very high on the work programme of the NTFC. Mr Oleg Platonov, Ukraine’s Head of Delegation to the United Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT) and Deputy Chairman of the NTFC noted that this seminar opened the way for the Committee to become an intermediary between the Government of Ukraine and UN/CEFACT for the implementation of international standards and tools for trade facilitation. UN/CEFACT can invite other NTFCs around the world to play a similar role.

A key achievement was the practical collaboration of various agencies under the National Trade Facilitation Committee of Ukraine, as clearly stressed by Mr Gregg Young from the CLDP.

In addition to these steps in the short term, the NTFC and other stakeholders discussed possibilities to implement a national Trade and Transport Facilitation Mechanism, following UN/CEFACT’s Recommendation 42. Collaboration with UNECE on such a mechanism and on a project on Business Process Analysis, e.g. on exports of grain from Ukraine, is envisaged.

Building on years of successful implementation of projects on a port community system in Odessa and other areas including TFA readiness assessment, UNECE also launched the capacity building activities of a new UN Development Account project for several low-middle income countries in the region, with Georgia, Kazakhstan, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, and Ukraine being the pivotal countries in this project.

Ukraine is currently in a crucial stage of implementing a national Single Window for regulatory controls of export, import and transit, with the entry into force this month of a Law on the Single Window. The Single Window concept in Ukraine has been supported for years through capacity-building projects by UNECE. The idea of the Single Window is to allow businesses to submit required information once only at a single location to obtain all necessary permits from various government bodies. It had been accepted by the Government and business community of Ukraine. A discussion took place at the seminar on the real-life impact of this law and on the importance of data harmonization. UNECE and a US Customs expert shared best practices from around the world.