19-22 October 2015,Wuhan, China
Mr. Kazunari Igarashi, Head of the ROCB A/P, attended the 4th Annual Meeting of the Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism for Trade Facilitation (ROC-TF*), which was held on 19 October 2015 in Wuhan, China, together with Mr. Toshihiko Osawa, Technical Officer of the Procedure/Facilitation Sub-Directorate of the WCO Secretariat. Representatives from 14 international/regional organizations attended the Meeting and shared information on their respective technical assistance initiatives in trade facilitation. At this Annual Meeting, Mr. Igarashi gave a presentation on the WCO’s recent development of trade facilitation-related tools, and guidelines and update of the SAFE Framework, and a summary of the planned trade facilitation-related capacity building programs for 2015/2016. After the presentations and discussion, representatives reaffirmed that sharing information and experiences in trade facilitation initiatives is very useful to avoid undue duplication and to identify synergies, particularly in assisting implementation of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. They also agreed various communication channels, including ROC-TF website and bi-annual E-Newsletters, in addition to this annual meeting mechanism, should be better utilized.
(*) ROC-TF was established by the UNESCAP and ADB 4 years ago with a view to promoting cooperation and collaboration among the UN and other international/regional organizations working towards facilitation of international trade in the A/P region.
Mr. Igarashi and Mr. Osawa also attended 7th Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF), held on 20-21 October 2015 in Wuhan, China, in which approximately 250 delegates from UNESCAP Member states, some African and Caribbean countries as well as various intergovernmental organizations and private sector associations, participated. The Forum consists of a series of panel discussions on regional integration and sustainable growth, trade cost and time, trade and transport corridor, e-commerce and paperless trade, and inclusiveness of SMEs, among others.
On 22 October 2015, Mr. Igarashi and Mr. Osawa participated in and contributed to the APTFF Capacity Building Workshop which dealt with issues related to Authorized Economic Operators (AEOs) and National Trade Facilitation Committees, whose formation is required under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. Mr. Osawa moderated the Panel Discussion Session on AEOs and discussed value of Customs-Business partnership, AEOs qualifications and benefits as well as mutual recognition. Mr. Igarashi joined a Panel Discussion on the Way Forward together with representative of UNESCAP, WTO, ADB and UNCTAD, and stressed the need for, among other things, assuring transparency and accountability through nation-wide uniform application of laws and procedures/practices, and monitoring of the impact and effects of trade facilitation-related measures, for example through a TRS.
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