Enhancing trade facilitation in the WTO

Enhancing trade facilitation in the WTO

Specialists from the OECS Secretariat will be in St. Kitts and Nevis this week for a consultation on national and regional measures to better facilitate trade in keeping with the emerging commitments being negotiated on Trade Facilitation in the World Trade Organization.

This is the final leg of the national consultations on Trade Facilitation by OECS Trade Policy Unit.

This will be the final in the current series of national consultations which began in February 2013. The objective of the process is to simplify and harmonize international trade procedures such as payment of fees, access to information and cooperation between customs and other authorities.

Regarding the mission to Basseterre, Programme Officer at the OECS Secretariat’s Trade Policy Unit Alicia Stephen says the idea is to be updated on where St. Kitts and Nevis is in terms of its ability to meet the emerging commitments from the draft Trade Facilitation Agreement text that is being developed.

“Negotiations have been going on since 2004-2005 and we are more or less at the point where WTO Member States want to push for a final text which will go to Trade Ministers in December 2013 and if that happens St. Kitts and Nevis needs to know to what extent it can implement the commitments that are emerging in those negotiations.”

Trade Facilitation refers to the processes and procedures involved in moving goods across borders. These include the fees required and time it takes to carry out such payments, the use of customs brokers, and the time taken to have matters relating to the clearance of goods re-dressed.

Trade Facilitation is a key element of the OECS Economic Union and this work is expected to advance regional efforts towards the creation of the single economic space as well as informing the OECS’ engagement in the WTO negotiations.

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development is assisting this effort, as part of a project on Implementation Plans for WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Developing Member States.


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