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UNECE, IATA Partner To Strengthen Trade Facilitation

Two global aviation bodies are working out modalities to strengthen their support to developing countries seeking to implement the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement

Stories: Anthony Awunor

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) 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, IATA and UNECE will help developing countries implement the relevant measures to realize the costs savings.

IATA’s Director General and CEO, Tony Tyler said “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”.

Tyler added “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, economies and local communities”.

Commenting, UNECE Executive Secretary, Christian Friis Bach said “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 e-Freight 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

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 and 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.

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