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Tuesday, 17 December 2013

EU pledges new financial support to help developing countries implement WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

In a move to support the timely implementation of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will help developing countries by simplifying, harmonising and modernising international border procedures, Development Commissioner, Andris Piebalgs and Trade Commissioner, Karel De Gucht, committed to cover a significant share of the funding needs of developing countries to implement the Agreement.
The EU's support, worth some €400 million over five years, responds to demands for help from countries most in need in order to comply with and draw the full benefit of the deal for growth and development. The Agreement was approved at the WTO's 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, on 3-6 December 2013.
The EU will aim to maintain at least its current level of support to trade facilitation over a five-year period; starting from the signature of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, namely €400 million over five years, or over a third of developing countries’ estimated needs, primarily through regular EU aid channels. Within this amount, it also stands ready to make a contribution of up to €30 million to a dedicated international trade facilitation facility for the most urgent actions for aligning legislation and procedures in developing countries to the new agreement.
EU support will be provided in the framework of its regular Trade-Related Assistance to developing countries. The EU is currently working on the allocation of its development aid for the period 2014-2020, and time is therefore ripe for developing countries to reflect their trade needs, including for trade facilitation, into their development strategies and include them in their priorities for EU aid for the period 2014-2020. EU aid will be financed partly from the EU budget, subject to the approval of the necessary legal instruments and partly from the European Development Fund (EDF), currently in the process of ratification by EU Member States.
Trade facilitation refers to measures aimed at simplifying, modernising and harmonising merchandise import, improving border tax collection, export and transit procedures, especially customs requirements but also those of the many other agencies operating at borders. Possible measures include simplifying rules, standardising and reducing the number of custom forms, and computerisation. The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement creates an international framework for these reforms, thereby spreading the benefits of trade facilitation across the globe.

Source: European Commission