December 17, 2015
- The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, a major business-led initiative, was launched today to assist developing countries and speed implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement
- The landmark trade agreement could add over $1 trillion to global trade flows with huge gains for developing markets; but implementation will require significant private-sector support
- The new alliance is hosted by the Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum, with support from the governments of Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States; the Australian government will add to the donor support shortly.
The Center for International Private Enterprise, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Economic Forum along with the governments of Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States have today launched a major new partnership to support effective implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)—which could reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3% and create up to 20 million jobs, mostly in developing countries.
The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation will provide a unique platform to leverage business expertise and resources in the implementation of customs and border reforms. While it is widely recognized that private-sector engagement will be critical for successful implementation of the TFA, the alliance is the first initiative to provide a global platform to bring business closer to the process of enacting reforms under the agreement.
Richard Samans, Head of the Centre for the Global Agenda at the World Economic Forum, said: “The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation will support developing-country governments that wish to drive both top-down and bottom-up reforms aimed at positioning their economies to capitalize more widely on international trade and investment opportunities. The private sector can play a vital role in helping to shape policy and other improvements in an enabling environment so that they have the greatest real-world impact.”
The alliance will support TFA-related projects in 12-15 developing countries on an annual rolling basis –identifying trade bottlenecks and working with governments to implement reforms to enable trade for local enterprises. It will also work to remedy limited private-sector awareness of the TFA in some sectors and markets. Underscoring the business-led nature of the partnership, the effectiveness of alliance programmes will be measured by real-world commercial metrics.
Andrew Wilson, Deputy Director of the Center for International Private Enterprise, said: “At the country level, the alliance will focus on empowering the local business community to become a leading stakeholder in trade facilitation efforts. This will ensure that reforms get implemented and have commercially meaningful outcomes.”
John Danilovich, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce, said: “Neither governments nor the private sector can deliver on the potential of the TFA on their own. The alliance offers the potential to take a great leap forward in realizing the gains of this landmark agreement for business, governments and consumers.”
The Alliance is being initiated based on contributions from the Government of Canada, the German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development, the UK Department for International Development and the U.S. Agency for International Development—with Australia to add its support shortly. In addition, a broad range of leading multinational companies have already committed to working with the alliance, including A.P. Møller-Mærsk, DHL, Wal-Mart, eBay and Huawei. Other partners are expected to join the initiative as its activities commence in the coming weeks.