Series of Trainings on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement conducted

Following the signing of a new Trade Facilitation Agreement during the WTO Ministerial Conference at Bali, a global demand emerged for capacity building of public and private sector in developing countries on the implications of the Agreement and how can they benefit from improved trade facilitation regime. The Agreement provides to minimize and streamline customs procedures, improve appeal and consultation procedures, and enhance the ability of traders to access the information they require to trade their goods internationally.

Given the need to develop capacity of Pakistani stakeholders on the Agreement, two international experts, Dr. Manzoor Ahmad, former Ambassador of Pakistan to WTO and Ms. Edna Ramirez, International Expert on Trade Facilitation were invited to Pakistan to deliver the trainings on the new Trade Facilitation Agreement and how the private sector can increase its influence in Trade Policy formulation. The trainings were conducted in three cities of Pakistan from 24-27 November in association with relevant Chambers and Trade associations. 447 stakeholders from public sector, private sector and academia participated in the trainings. The trainings were covered by 11 TV channels and about 41 newspapers.

While addressing the seminar at Islamabad, Deputy Ambassador of the European Union Delegation to Pakistan, Mr. Stefano Gatto said that the European Union was the best trading partner for Pakistan and that the country should make sure to benefit from the opportunities available to Pakistani exporters after the granting of GSP plus status. He highlighted that a surge in textile exports have already taken place, which could potentially be further enhanced. He stressed, however, that market access alone will not be enough and the government and private sector should work together to improve the conditions for the productive industries.

Additional Secretary Ministry of Commerce Mr. Azhar Ali Chaudhry at the occasion praised the efforts of ITC under the TRTA II programme. He showed appreciation for ITC’s recent publication, which provides guidance to Pakistan’s public and private sector on procedures for exporting to the European Union. He underlined the commitment of the Government to implement the commitments under the GSP plus scheme and highlighted the efforts undertaken so far in that connection. He hoped that SMEs will benefit from the training on the new WTO agreement on Trade Facilitation, which would help them overcome custom formalities for enhance exports, including to the EU under the GSP plus scheme.

Mr. Bruno Valanzuolu Chief Technical Advisor, TRTA II and Mr. Mohammad Owais Khan, Programme officer ITC/TRTA II programme highlighted the achievements made under the TRTA II programme. They informed the audience about the specific purposes of the programme which is to support the economic integration of Pakistan into the global and regional economy and stimulate decent work and employment creation by increasing exports and enhancing an enabling climate for international trade.

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