In 2015, UNCTAD joined forces with Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) service and the World Customs Organization (WCO) to advance the implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Encouraged by the success of the past five years, the UK government has decided to extend its support to UNCTAD until 2022 and has granted the Geneva-based UN trade and development body total funding of GBP 880.000
The new agreement constitutes the basis to further expand what is known in full as the “HMRC-WCO-UNCTAD Capacity Building Programme for the Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement”.
Bureaucratic delays and “red tape” pose a burden for moving goods across borders for traders. Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has therefore emerged as an important issue for the world trading system.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement, which officially came into force in February 2017, contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
In addition, it contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building, which are key concerns for developing countries – and are the focus of the UK-funded programme.
At a time when it is increasingly crucial to facilitate trade to keep global supply chains thriving and international commerce moving, improving trading procedures around the world could not be more urgent and timelier.
Critical goods must reach destinations in time to meet pressing needs and governments trade procedures need to meet new challenges of the century.
The additional funding will enable UNCTAD to continue helping countries establish and maintain national trade facilitation committees (NTFCs), which are key to the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization.
HMRC’s programme heavily focuses on supporting the development of NTFCs, which have tapped into UNCTAD’s expertise and suite of tools, techniques and learning products in creating the right institutional structures and buy-in that has underpinned the successful implementation of the TFA in their countries.
The UK has so far supported the implementation of UNCTAD’s empowerment programme for NTCFs in 17 countries in Africa and the Caribbean and the training of more than 1,500 NTFC members from public agencies and the private sector, including 700 women.
The new programme’s beneficiaries are ODA-recipient countries, with a focus on Least Developed Countries.
UK provides £1.4 million more for trade facilitation initiatives
The funding to UNCTAD will help boost trade in vulnerable economies post-COVID-19.
UNCTAD's trade facilitation work boosted by new UK funding
The United Kingdom is tripling its funding for UNCTAD's work to help Commonwealth developing countries reap the benefits of a global deal on making trade flow smoothly.
United Kingdom funds project on Trade Facilitation
The United Kingdom will fund a capacity building project to be implemented by UNCTAD and the World Customs Organization, which aims to support the implementation of the World Trade Organisation's Trade Facilitation Agreement in developing and least developed countries.
PartnersHM Revenue & Customs of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (HMRC) and the World Customs Organization (WCO)
DonorsDepartment for International Development of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland
UK ODA recipient countries, with a focus on Least Developed Countries
Arantzazu Sanchez Belastegui