The All-Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty (APPG-TOP), in collaboration with the UK Government’s Trade Policy Group, a joint Department of DFID, DIT and FCO, organised a High Level Roundtable on the subject of “Africa & the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: from Ratification to Implementation”.
The invitation-only event took place on Wednesday 8th March from 14:00-16:00 in the Houses of Parliament. There were approximately 30 participants who each brought a unique perspective on the opportunities and challenges presented by the ratification and implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Africa.
The discussions at the High Level Roundtable were informal, and focussed on three key questions:
• Where are African countries with the TFA and what are their plans for ratification/implementation to cut trade costs and smooth trading across borders?
• What are the main opportunities and challenges which stakeholders from African countries (in both the public and private sectors) see arising from TFA implementation?
• What assistance is on offer, or in the pipeline, for African countries from development partners for implementing the TFA and what lessons have been learnt so far (e.g. for setting up national TFA committees, using information technology, and the role of business)?
The High Level Roundtable was chaired by the Rt Hon Peter Lilley MP (former UK Trade & Investment Minister and Co-Chair of APPG-TOP).
Invited participants included Ministers of Trade from the UK, Nigeria, Ghana, Zambia, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda. Other invited participants include CEOs or Senior Directors from the WTO, World Customs Organisation, UNCTAD, World Bank, African Development Bank, ITC, the Commonwealth Secretariat, African Union Commission, UN Economic Commission for Africa, TradeMark East Africa, the Commonwealth Enterprise & Investment Council, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, and the Advisory Centre on WTO Law in Geneva.
Immediately following the roundtable, APPG-TOP hosted a reception in the Houses of Parliament to celebrate the entry into force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement on 22 February.
The High-Level Roundtable and Cocktail Reception were generously sponsored by AECOM.