ADB-UNCTAD Regional Workshop on SASEC National Trade Facilitation Committees

9-10 Oct 2013

SARC led and chaired the 2-day regional workshop on establishing and developing national trade facilitation committees/bodies (NTFCs) for the four SASEC countries of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, and Nepal in Kathmandu, Nepal on 9-10 October. After sharing the experience and case studies of NTFC evolution in Finland, Italy, Japan, and Pakistan, and discussing the practical steps for WTO members to transform policy recommendation and imminent obligation relating to NTFCs into reality, the SASEC countries developed time-bound prioritized action plans appropriate for their respective national situation.

These action plans will support both the national trade facilitation agenda, and SASEC Trade Facilitation Program tranche 2 conditions in the case of Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal. The workshop was attended by 52 senior SASEC officials from ministries of commerce, trade, and customs, together with other relevant agencies. The Australian Ambassador to Nepal opened the event, and NRM CD Kenichi Yokoyama wrapped up proceedings of the first day. UNCTAD co-organized the workshop.

The speakers from Italy, Finland, Japan and Pakistan shared their focus on direct coordination with the private sectors, provision of consultative platforms and mechanisms for the private sectors, and between private and public sectors. Their NTFC mechanisms engage with the government at a different level. UNCTAD also presented many higher-level and critical questions of NTFC mechanisms, including recommendation or obligation.