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Trade Facilitation in the World Trade Organization Workshop on Capacity Building Programme World Bank Institute Ein El-Sokhna, Egypt 17-20 April 2004 Mohsen Ahmed Helal © Regional Advisor on World Trade Organization © The views expressed in this presentation are that of the Regional Advisor and does not necessarily reflect those of ESCWA.
Trade Facilitation Definition: Improving Documentary Requirements, and procedures on Trade in Goods (Import + Export + Transit) Custom Reform Reforming Customs Procedures Making Trade Procedures as Efficient as possible through: procedures, documentation and information. Trade Facilitation 2
International Organizations Dealing With Trade Facilitation Multitude of International Organizations dealing with different issues related to Trade Facilitation: WCOWorld Custom Organization UNCTADUnited Nations Conference on Trade and Development WBWorld Bank ISOInternational Standard Organization ITCInternational Trade Center Koyoto ConventionCustom related-issues Trade Facilitation 3
WTO-Related Articles GATT 1994 Art VFreedom of Transit Art VIIIFees and Formalities connected with importation and exportation Art XPublication and Administration of Trade Regulation. Trade Facilitation 4
Other WTO Agreements Rules on Trade Facilitation 1.Custom Valuation Agreement 2.Agreement on Pre-Shipment Inspection 3.Agreement on Import Licensing Procedures 4.Agreement on Rules of Origin 5.Agreement on Technical Barriers to Trade 6.Agreement on Sanitary and Phyto-Sanitary Measures Trade Facilitation 5
WTO Ministerial Declaration Singapore 1996 Article 21; Trade Facilitation: “we further agree to:” “direct the Council for Trade in Goods to” “undertake exploratory and analytical” “work, drawing on the work of other” “relevant international organizations,” “on simplification of trade procedures” “in order to assess the scope for” “WTO rules in this area” Trade Facilitation 6
WTO Ministerial Declaration Doha 2001 Para 27; Trade Facilitation: “In the period until the Fifth Session” “the Council for Trade in Goods” “shall review and, as appropriate” “clarify and improve relevant” “aspects of Article V, VIII, and,” “X of the GATT 1994” Trade Facilitation 7
Article V: Freedom of Transit No obstacles or unreasonable charges on transit Freedom of transit… most convenient routes… Transit; –No delays, no restrictions –Exempt from custom duties or other charges –Administrative expenses (reasonable, cost of services) MFN treatment with respect to ALL: »Charges; »Regulations; »formalities Trade Facilitation 8
Article VIII: Fees & Formalities Limited in amount (cost of services rendered) Not to represent protection to domestic products No import fax for fiscal purposes Import and export formalities should be reduced Document requirements: –Less –Simplified Trade Facilitation 9
Article X: Transparency Publication and Administration of Trade Regulation Publication ALL Laws, regulation, administrative ruling, and judicial decisions (import + export) Measures imposing a new requirement, restriction, or prohibition on imports, or payment, shall be published before enforcement Uniform, impartial, and reasonable administration of laws, and decisions on Import and Export. Judicial/Arbitral System to review and correct action relating to customs matters. Trade Facilitation 10
Role of WTO and other Organizations WTO:May consider a framework of: - legal rules - dispute settlement WTO:Should not get involved in other International Organizations role in Trade Facilitation. UNCTAD, WCO, ITC, and others Trade Facilitation 11
Post-Doha Work Programme on Trade Facilitation Three core agenda items: (i)GATT Articles V, VIII, and X (ii)Trade Facilitation needs and priorities of Members, particularly developing and least-developed countries (iii)Technical assistance and capacity-building Trade Facilitation 12
Some Positions ALL countries: Recognition of benefits of trade facilitation EU + Japan: Article VIII to be “operational” rather than “aspirational” Rules on customs procedures Article V unjustified restrictions non-discrimination with regard to modes of transport Most ambitious GOAL. Trade Facilitation 13
Some Positions (cont’d) Developing countries: Rules will exceed the implementation capacities of LDCs; Dispute Settlement? Trade Facilitation is related to domestic capacity building, and not multilateral rules. Trade Facilitation 14
Draft Cancun Declaration Not approved 13/09/2003 1.Negotiations shall aim, by clarifying and improving relevant aspects of GATT Article V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994, at the establishment of an agreement to further expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. 2.In the case of developing and least-developed countries, it is agreed that their implementation capacities shall be an important factor to take into account in the negotiations. The negotiations shall also take fully info account the principle of special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries. Trade Facilitation 15
Draft Cancun Declaration Not approved 13/09/2003 (cont’d) 3.Recognizing the needs of developing and least-developed countries for enhanced technical assistance and capacity building in this area, we commit ourselves to ensuring adequate technical assistance and support for capacity building both during the negotiations and after their conclusion. 4.In order to make the process of identification and assessment of needs related to technical assistance and capacity building effective and operational and to ensure better coherence, a collaborative effort shall be undertaken with other international organizations, including the World Bank, IMF, UNCTAD, and the WCO, in this regard. Trade Facilitation 16
Draft Cancun Declaration Not approved 13/09/2003 (cont’d) 5.Due account shall be taken of the relevant work undertaken by other international organizations in this area. 6.Paragraphs 45-51 of the Doha Ministerial Declaration shall apply to these negotiations. At its first meeting after this Session of the Ministerial Conference, the Trade Negotiations Committee shall establish a Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation and appoint its Chair. The first meeting of the Negotiating Group shall agree on a work plan and schedule of meetings. Trade Facilitation 17
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