TIACA backs WTO Director General's call for Trade Facilitation to be included in new multilateral trade negotiations
A call by the Director General of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to include Trade Facilitation in a new package of multilateral trade negotiations has won the backing of The International Air Cargo Association (TIACA) which says the move would not only benefit the air cargo industry but also the world economy.
In his statement to an informal Trade Negotiations Committee meeting on June 22, WTO Director General Pascal Lamy described an “LDC (least developed countries) Plus” package that could include Trade Facilitation as well as certain other measures as part of the package of agreements that negotiators are seeking to conclude in time for a Ministerial Conference this December.
TIACA strongly supports inclusion of Trade Facilitation in the December package. Modern, efficient customs procedures are critical for international airfreight shipments, and TIACA has long supported them, as they are essential if the air cargo sector is to capitalize on its inherent advantage of speed. Furthermore, trade facilitation can promote economic growth: aviation is a key facilitator of international trade, allowing small and medium-sized businesses to compete internationally.
Trade facilitation is also important to developing countries, since inefficient trade procedures lose revenue for governments as well as for importers and exporters. The negative impact of inefficient trade procedures further manifests itself by impeding competition and therefore undermining investment in developing economies, and by limiting the efficiencies of domestic producers.
Michael Steen, TICA Chairman said: “We support the commitment of WTO members to conclude a package of agreements by this December, and are particularly pleased that Director General Lamy has suggested that Trade Facilitation could be part of that package. We urge all negotiating parties to dedicate the necessary resources to make this happen. Of course, this would benefit air cargo – but, just as importantly, it would benefit member countries as well as the world economy at a time when the effects of the global downturn are still being felt.”
Trade facilitation initiatives and negotiations, which aim to facilitate trade by addressing border-related impediments to the flow of goods, are of paramount importance to the air cargo industry. The benefits of trade facilitation are far reaching and affect governments, business and consumers. Border delays are particularly costly for air shipments as aviation’s key advantage is speed and, therefore, expedited border clearance is critical to the competitiveness of the industry.
Also, the average value of goods shipped by air tends to be higher than for other modes. Therefore, border delays for air cargo tie up high value assets, which can be particularly problematic for importers. TIACA therefore strongly supports efforts to reduce border impediments and implement facilitative measures.
The Doha Development Agenda (DDA) is the formal name of the ongoing multilateral trade negotiations being conducted under the auspices of the World Trade Organization. The DDA's objective is to lower trade barriers globally which will then serve to increase global trade. One set of negotiations under the DDA is focused on trade facilitation. If successful, these negotiations could produce the first separate set of trade facilitation provisions subject to WTO disciplines, further elaborating on prior GATT provisions. Earlier this year, WTO members agreed to try to conclude some aspects of the DDA by December 2011 and are now pursuing that objective.