Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is moving closer towards full implementation of Article 23 of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. Article 23 deals with institutional arrangements for the national trade facilitation committee.
To this end, representatives from several ministries are participating in a United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Empowerment Programme on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The implementation of the agreement will enhance trade conditions to further expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, among others.
Trade Facilitation Officer in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Trade and Commerce, Kathy John, explained that the implementation of the Agreement will provide a road map for Saint Vincent and the Grenadines in efficiency of trade. John said two immediate benefits of the Trade Facilitation Agreement are revenue collection and better conditions for foreign investors. She told the attendees that the success of the workshop depends heavily on how local bodies adhere to the requirements in the Agreement. The Trade Facilitation Officer therefore urged participants to make the most of the training.
One of the facilitators of the workshop, Bismark Sitorus, works in UNCTAD’s Department of Technology and Logistics. Sitorus said all countries of the WTO are obliged to comply with the guidelines stipulated in the Trade Facilitation Agreement. He described the module as intensive but possible to cover during the week-long workshop.
This training is designed to assist countries in the region, especially, the committee members to gain the capacity that is expected as inscribed in Article 23.2 of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. He extended gratitude for the kindness shown to him and his co-facilitator since their arrival.
Director of Trade, Okolo John-Patrick, disclosed that her department is pleased to once again partner with the UNCTAD through financial assistance from the United Kingdom to host the Empowerment Programme for the National Trade Facilitation Committee. John-Patrick said the workshop will increase this country’s ability to implement the WTO’s requirements in the Trade Facilitation Agreement. She said the Chamber of Industry and Commerce and the Custom Brokers Association are also participating in the workshop.
The workshop commenced on Monday, November 26, 2018 and will conclude on Friday 30th.