UN/ECE’s Contribution to Public and Private Partnership in Facilitating International Trade Mario Apostolov Economic Affairs Officer Trade Division, UNECE The United Nations Economic Commission’s mission UN/ECE brings together participants from all United Nations Member States, international and non-governmental organizations to develop standards and conventions in a wide range of fields, including trade and transport. A priority for UN/ECE Involve public and private entities in specific activities on developing standards and best practices in trade facilitation Working parties In the 1960s, was established within the UN/ECE a working party (WP.4) on the Facilitation of International Trade Procedures. In 1996 it was transformed into United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT). Recommendations 30 trade facilitation Recommendations have been developed under the auspices of the UN/ECE. These documents recommend to Governments specific measures to simplify, harmonize and automate international trade. Recommendations The texts of these recommendations can be downloaded from the UN/CEFACT web site: www.unece.org/cefact (click on “Recommendations”). A coordinated approach between the public and private sectors To ensure that: Solving problems in one field would not create problems in another part of the international supply chain. Private sector managers, public sector administrators and policy makers can work together towards the effective implementation of jointly agreed facilitation measures. A coordinated approach between the public and private sectors The needs of all parties, both private and public, have to be taken into account before decisions are made. National Trade Facilitation Bodies The purpose of these organizations is to: identify issues affecting the cost and efficiency of their country’s international trade; develop measures to reduce the cost and improve the efficiency of international trade; assist in the implementation of those measures; National Trade Facilitation Bodies provide a national focal point for the collection and dissemination of information on best practices in international trade facilitation; participate in international efforts to improve trade facilitation and efficiency. National Trade Facilitation Bodies UN/ECE adopted its Recommendation 4: National Trade Facilitation Bodies (www.unece.org/cefact/rec/rec04en.htm), which also contains a list of existing national trade facilitation bodies. National Trade Facilitation Bodies The various national trade facilitation bodies assume roles and tasks which reflect the specifics of their countries. National Trade Facilitation Bodies In some countries they focus on formalities, procedures and documents, or on the promotion of UN/EDIFACT as the only global and internationally recognized standard for electronic data interchange (EDI). National Trade Facilitation Bodies In other countries, particularly with developing and transition economies, it serves as a forum to coordinate broader trade-related policies covering not only the use of standards and best practices, but also profound legal reforms . “PRO Committees” To avoid institutional conflict of interests some countries have chosen to use the more neutral term “PRO Committees”. The “pro” element originally reflected the idea of simplifying trade “procedures”, but is increasingly used with reference to “promotion”. “PRO Committees” The main task of PRO Committees is to advise administrations and companies on relevant trade facilitation measures, on best business practices and on non- tariff barriers. “PRO Committees” They can promote trade in developing and transition economies by encouraging the growth of national exports and attracting foreign investment, especially through providing information about the particular international trade procedures and requirements. “PRO Committees” Represent their countries at UN/CEFACT, but also in regional cooperation activities, such as: EUROPRO, the association of EU and EFTA committees for trade facilitation. SECIPRO, the trade facilitation segment of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative. Further, “PRO Committees” in CEE and CIS UN/ECE has developed a joint technical assistance project with the Czech Republic for trade facilitation in selected transition economies. The experience of the Czech PRO- Committee, FITPRO, is used to support the establishment and first steps of new PRO- Committees in Belarus, Kazakhstan, Lithuania, the Republic of Moldova and Ukraine. UN/ECE Regional Adviser for Trade Facilitation To increase awareness of trade facilitation issues and act as a catalyst for trade facilitation in countries in transition. To support the establishment of national trade facilitation bodies. UN/ECE Regional Adviser for Trade Facilitation Focal point of the trade facilitation segment (SECIPRO) of the Southeast European Cooperative Initiative (SECI). The web site of SECIPRO: http://www.unece.org/secipro. UN/ECE Regional Adviser for Trade Facilitation Provides the secretariat for the Regional Steering Committee of the Trade and Transport Facilitation project for Southeast Europe (TTFSE), realised within the SECI framework and supported by the World Bank. UN/ECE Regional Adviser for Trade Facilitation Promotes trade facilitation in Working Table II (economic and commercial issues) of the Stability Pact for Southeast Europe. Three groups of countries with economies of transition Countries which have “graduated” from transition, which are advancing towards EU membership, and may themselves become donors and share their expertise in trade facilitation with others; Three groups of countries with economies of transition Countries which have gone through a significant part of their transition, which have established national trade facilitation bodies and participate in regional trade facilitation initiatives; Three groups of countries with economies of transition Countries which still need to define priorities in their transition and which are building up the infrastructure and awareness The role and potential of Information and Communication Technologies The emergence of knowledge-based societies provides a chance for transition economies to leap forward in their development. Knowledge-based economies and societies are not limited to the implementation of digital technology and electronic business. The role and potential of Information and Communication Technologies A knowledge-based society is inherently linked to the improvement of social and economic processes by combining. human expertise, technology and. information processing systems. The role and potential of Information and Communication Technologies Governments have to build upon: the achievements of the digital age. the classical aspect of simplifying and harmonizing trade procedures. improving the legal foundations of their commercial systems.
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