Strategic Discussion on Trade facilitation among the ASEAN Member States and Development Partners
19 March 2015, Jakarta, Indonesia
At the invitation of the ADB, Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P, along with Mr. Toshihiko Osawa, Technical Officer of the WCO, participated in the “ADB-ASEAN Workshop on Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in the Context of the ASEAN Economic Community”, held on 19 March 2015 in Jakarta. This meeting followed the WCO Regional Workshop on Strategic Initiatives for Trade Facilitation held on 16-18 March 2015 also in Jakarta. Approximately 60 representatives from the relevant Ministries of the ASEAN Member States and Development Partners (i.e. ADB, ASEAN, Australia, the United States, Japan, WCO, UNESCAP, European Union, and World Bank) attended.
The overall objective of this Workshop was to maximize the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implementation discussion among ASEAN Members States, including the sharing of information on their respective trade facilitation efforts both at national and regional contexts.
The Workshop focused on two topics, namely; (i) TFA implementation under the ASEAN Economic Community, and (ii) the roles of the Development Partners in supporting pertinent initiatives in ASEAN.
After discussion among the participants on the roles of the Development Partners and an exchange of experiences, it was summed up that: (a) implementation of TFA is a big challenge and requires political will as an imperative; (b) a need for national strategy on trade facilitation, including the assistance for business, especially small and medium-sized enterprises; (c) a need for an effective monitoring mechanism; and (d) a need for capacity building on human resources, through train-the-trainers to transfer knowledge.