Trade facilitation involves a wide and diverse range of public and private agents seeking to establish a transparent, consistent and predictable environment for border transactions based on simple and standardised Customs procedures and practices.
The cross-sectoral nature of trade facilitation requires coordination mechanisms. Therefore, public-private partnerships are vital to both pinpointing the requirements of traders and government as well as implementing any relevant national or international measures to improve border transactions.
By this token, National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFBs) were set up in many countries during the past 30 years, often in the realm of national and regional trade facilitation projects.
In December 2013, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was signed and with it, WTO members committed themselves to create or maintain a National Trade Facilitation Committee.
In this repository, the national cases and data were collected through desk research and a detailed survey with national entities, providing information about the following types of NTFBs:
PRO-Committee: Based on UN/CEFACT Recommendation N° 4, Pro-Committees deal with the facilitation of trade procedures and identify bottlenecks to trade and promote solutions.
National Trade and Transport Facilitation Committee: These consultative inter-institutional bodies promote trade facilitation, study international trade and transport regulations, prepare recommendations and create transparency on major trade and transport issues.
National Trade Facilitation Committees: Established as a coordination mechanism, they are advocated to streamline trade procedures and implement trade facilitation measures at national level.
WTO Negotiations on Trade Facilitation Support Group: Created to support negotiators based in Geneva or delegates from capitals during the negotiations of the WTO Agreement of Trade Facilitation.
WTO TFA National Trade Facilitation Committees: Created on the basis of Article 23.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.
It is worth to mention that several countries also participate in regional trade facilitation committees, such as EUROPRO (for all European Pro-committees), SECIPRO (for the PRO Committees in Southeast Europe) or the Trade Facilitation Committee for the European Free Trade Association (EFTA).