Benin and Nigeria a step closer of implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

06 December 2017

Both countries recently concluded UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees.

With the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on 22 February 2017, WTO members have started fast-tracking the implementation of the trade facilitation reforms that will ensure the compliance of their countries with the WTO provisions.

One of the first steps in that endeavor is the set-up of a National Trade Facilitation Committee which, as described in Article 23.2, will be in charge of ensuring the domestic coordination of the trade facilitation efforts in the country.

In that context, UNCTAD has been providing assistance and capacity building to the National Trade Facilitation Committees.

The main goal was to reinforce the capacities of beneficiary countries to be in a better position to implement, in a coordinated manner, trade facilitation reforms, including the provisions of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation of the World Trade Organization.

Thus, UNCTAD provided advisory services in Mali and arranged for the implementation of its Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees in Nigeria and Benin.

This support took place in the framework of a project financed by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ).

The project did not only aim at helping countries to comply with Article 23.2, but also with Article 1 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Article 1 requests countries to have transparent trade procedures, that are accessible to everyone.

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Publishing those procedures on the internet is one of the requirements described in the Agreement. UNCTAD is supporting the implementation of Article 1 by helping Nigeria and Benin to create a trade portal, which will lay down clearly the export, import and trade procedures in those countries.

While the creation of trade portals is still in the process of finalization, the project component related to supporting National Trade Facilitation Committees was successfully completed last October 2017.

In implementing the Empowerment Programme for NTFCs, UNCTAD delivered a total of nine training modules in Nigeria and Benin. Each module lasted approximately 30 hours and included tailor made contents to country-specific needs.

Countries received support in the establishment of their NTFC (for the case of Benin), understanding international standards, measuring and implementing trade facilitation, establishing trade facilitation roadmaps and training of trainers for future members of the NTFC. Courses undertaken in this programme were developed by international experts in collaboration with other United Nations agencies and international organizations.

For more information, please contact Arántzazu Sánchez - [email protected]