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Trade Facilitation Week 2019
Trade Facilitation Week took place at the WTO from 14 to 18 October. Events were centred around the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee on 15 October and the Committee's annual dedicated session on technical assistance on 16 October.
Building on the success of a similar initiative in 2018, TFAF funded government officials with trade facilitation expertise from more than 50 LDC and developing country WTO Members to attend the week.
TFAF invited donors and partners to host sessions or to propose topics for workshops on either side of the Committee meeting. This approach allowed the Geneva-based TF community to benefit from the attendance of the capital-based experts and kept the travelling participants engaged and involved throughout the week. Topics covered by partners ranged from TFA and disaster response, legislative and policy considerations to a UNOHRLLS experts group meeting on improving transit cooperation and trade facilitation. Pacific and island countries also had dedicated sessions covering TFA implementation issues specific to them, including automation and the facilitation of Food and Agriculture trade. The UK's Department for International Development and the EU each held sessions on monitoring and evaluation and the REX registered exporter system for LDCs respectively.
Sessions organized by TFAF reflected an increasing focus on implementation of the Agreement following a successful push to meet notification deadlines over the summer. A special emphasis was placed on sessions designed to bring together development partners and Members seeking assistance to implement provisions of the Agreement designated under Category C – requiring technical assistance to implement. In this regard, a cocktail reception allowing bilateral discussion of TACB needs rounded up Monday October 14.
Throughout the week, Members were encouraged to approach donors to discuss their needs on the basis of preparatory work facilitated by TFAF - worksheets were completed by participants in the lead up to the week outlining their TFA implementation needs and including a donor brochure with up-to-date information on donors' TF assistance programs.
For those Members who were unable to identify the assistance needed, the TFAF team held one-to-one sessions throughout the week, walking members through the process of filling out an online expression of interest – the first step in applying for a TFAF Grant. This resulted in a record number of submissions.
Details on the Trade Facilitation Committee meeting and dedicated session can be found here