Alliance Project Countries Detail Impact to WTO Committee  

Madagascar, Malawi, and Peru showcase tangible improvements follow successful completions

At a recent World Trade Organization (WTO) Committee on Trade Facilitation representatives from Malawi, Madagascar, and Peru detailed how collaboration through public private partnership in Alliance projects had improved the business environment in their countries.  

The presentations reflected the breadth of Alliance projects in supporting developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) in meeting their commitments under the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). 

The Alliance is supporting Malawi in transforming its trade processes by introducing a modern framework for customs clearing agent licensing, providing training for clearing agents, or customs brokers, with particular emphasis on recruiting and training women, who represent a significant percentage of informal cross-border traders. Clearing agents play a vital role in moving goods across borders, helping businesses of all sizes understand and comply with complex export and import requirements. 

Ms. Agnes Katsonga, Deputy Commissioner General of Malawi Revenue Authority, informed the committee about the progress that has been made towards introducing international best practices through licensing and training, emphasising the work that has gone into amending existing legislation to enable the reform to take place.  

During 2022, the Alliance implemented two, separate projects in Madagascar, introducing electronic phytosanitary certification and advance rulings. Speaking on behalf of the country’s Customs agency, Mr. Hajarizaka Raminomanana, Counsellor at the Permanent Mission of Madagascar in Geneva, noted improvements since traders have been able to avail of advance rulings, which allow businesses to receive binding pre-authorisations valid for a set period (usually at least a year) on how Customs will treat their goods.  

The Counsellor noted that 32 companies had registered for the system since it became operational, adding that Madagascar aims to increase this to 100 over time, and to process at least 50 requests by end-2023. 

In December 2022, the Alliance concluded a multi-faceted project in Peru to speed up authorisations for exports of processed foods. The consolidation of disparate evaluation criteria and interpretations enable authorities to make more predictable decisions, enhancing transparency and reducing lead times and overcharges for traders – particularly micro, small, and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – while maintaining food and product safety standards. 

Ms Ingrid Huapapa, Customs and Trade Facilitation Coordinator at the Ministry of Foreign Trade and Tourism, listed this project among several initiatives the country is undertaking to boost competitiveness.  

The presentations were warmly received by committee members at the March 21-22 meeting, and they encouraged similar detailed updates in the future.