ICC advocates implementation of agreement to streamline trade facilitation

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International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Ghana with the support of the BUSAC Fund is advocating for the implementation of strategies that will seek to streamline and simplify international trade procedures.

The Secretary General of ICC Ghana, Emmanuel Doni-Kwame, speaking at the 4th World Customs Organisation’s Global Authorized Economic Operator Conference in Kampala, stated that for the advocacy action to achieve its target of getting the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) implemented, the right synergies with key stakeholders must be secured.

Doni-Kwame said after 55 years of the Africa Union, trade seems to be the only means to facilitate integration and that politics and commerce have this opportunity through CFTA and the implementation of WTO TFA will fast track.

“Useful lessons must be learned from implementation programmes by some African countries so as to render the port of Ghana competitive especially for land-locked countries,’ he told the Private Sector Consultative Group and called for a harmonized Authorized Economic Operator policy as captured in Article 7 of the WTO TFA for all the regional blocks such as ECOWAS.

“Private sector organisations should advocate for the implementation of the TFA since their interest in the programme is high.

It will be important for businesses to monitor the implementation of the TFA, so the ICC Ghana-led coalition would work in partnership with government to arrive at outcomes that will benefit government and businesses.”

Exporters and importers in the international trade arena in Ghana have decried the continuous bottlenecks they encounter in engaging in trading activities at the ports and borders, he said.

Bureaucratic bottlenecks at the port have resulted in businesses losing huge sums of money and this adds to the cost of production, rendering businesses uncompetitive. Efforts have been made to address this difficulties businesses encounter. Among some of these measures are policies and laws related to trade facilitation.

To enhance international participation of countries especially developing and least developed countries, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) members entered into an agreement on Trade Facilitation which is expected to reduce total trade costs by more than 14 per cent for low-income countries, more than 15 per cent for lower middle-income countries and more than 13 per cent for upper middle-income countries.

Following Ghana’s ratification of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and the coming into force of the Agreement, active work is ongoing by all relevant stakeholders to ensure the successful execution of the TFA Articles.

Effective trade facilitation requires efficient trade coordination across the entire supply chain. This broader approach warrants careful planning and collaboration across a wide number of government agencies as well as close cooperation with the private sector.

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