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Making Trade Facilitation Happen Through Public-Private Partnerships: Role of National Trade Facilitation Committees

19 September 2019

Salon East, Hyatt Regency, New Delhi, India

The National Trade Facilitation Committees in their various forms have been at the centre of the trade facilitation reforms since the trade facilitation agenda came to focus in the nineties. The importance of the committees was once again reinforced after the adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in February 2017. All WTO members which ratified the Agreement, are required to establish a national trade facilitation body. Developing and developed countries alike have highlighted the importance of establishing and having a fully-functional committee.

The committees are structurally different and so are their operational strategies. Some of these institutions go beyond meeting the requirement of the Trade Facilitation Agreement and act as leaders for overall trade facilitation reforms in their respective countries. These committees are often the main national platform for the public and private sector consultation. The key(s) to successful committees could be different depending on the national context. The experiences are wide-ranging which includes coordination mechanism, trade facilitation strategies, capacity-building or even infrastructure or logistics projects. As the committees stand at various stages of their establishment or reforms, it is worthwhile to make some of the lessons available to policy makers, private sector and international practitioners.

With the above in view, UNECE, ITC and UNCTAD, in cooperation with the Asian Development Bank and ESCAP, will co-organize a half-day event on 19 September back to back with the Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2019. The event will bring together representatives of various National Trade Facilitation Committees and facilitate a discussion on the lessons learned at various stages of their operations. The discussion is expected to contribute towards enhanced understanding of the policy makers about the functioning of the national trade facilitation committees and role of various stakeholders and lessons learned.

Agenda (Draft)