OECS Senior Officials Make Headway In Trade Facilitation Reforms

OECS Senior Officials Make Headway In Trade Facilitation Reforms

OECS Media Release

Geneva, Switzerland: Senior Trade Officials from OECS Member States met with officials from the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) to discuss plans to deliver a capacity building programme that aims to improve the efficiency of cross border trade.

All OECS WTO Member States have taken commitments at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) through the Trade Facilitation Agreement to implement measures that will increase the speed and efficiency of trade logistics.

The objective of the Agreement is to reduce costs, increase access to information and improve clearance times for importers and exporters. One component of the Agreement is the requirement to establish National Trade Facilitation Committees responsible for coordinating the implementation of the Agreement.

The capacity building programme, referred to as the UNCTAD Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Bodies, will bring together National Trade Facilitation Stakeholders which include representatives from both the public and the private sectors.

This intensive professional modular programme, funded by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC), UK will be delivered by the UNCTAD with coordinating support from the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States Commission.

The training to be provided under the Empowerment Programme will assist OECS Member States implement trade facilitation reforms in a coordinated manner.

At the conclusion of the Empowerment Programme, each Member State will have an ‘Implementation Roadmap’ while successful participants will receive a certificate.

OECS Member States have identified the need to improve the business environment by undertaking reforms that will lead to greater efficiency and cost savings for both businesses and the consumer at both national and regional levels.

One critical element of these reforms is to decrease the clearance times during the import and export process.

Director of Trade for the Government of Dominica, Mr. Matthan J Walter, noted that ‘the Empowerment Programme can be a useful tool to strengthen the functioning of Trade Facilitation Committees and simplify foreign trade procedures’.

The Senior Official further urged that the programme respond to the needs to each OECS Member State.

The Empowerment Programme will be rolled out in six OECS Member States that are WTO members, starting in November 2018.

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Stephen Fevrier Head of the OECS Geneva Mission at OECS, OECS Commission
Stephen Fevrier Head of the OECS Geneva Mission at OECS, OECS Commission
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The Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) is an International Organisation dedicated to economic harmonisation and integration, protection of human and legal rights, and the encouragement of good governance among independent and non-independent countries in the Eastern Caribbean. The OECS came into being on June 18th 1981, when seven Eastern Caribbean countries signed a treaty agreeing to cooperate with each other while promoting unity and solidarity among its Members. The Treaty became known as the Treaty of Basseterre, so named in honour of the capital city of St. Kitts and Nevis where it was signed. The OECS today, currently has eleven members, spread across the Eastern Caribbean comprising Antigua and Barbuda, Commonwealth of Dominica, Grenada, Montserrat, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St Vincent and The Grenadines, British Virgin Islands, Anguilla, Martinique and Guadeloupe. 

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