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World Bank partners WTO to enhance trade in developing countriesTuesday, October 14, 2014 > 09:53:17
(Sun News Online)
The World Bank Group and the World Trade Organisation (WTO) have agreed to enhance their co-operation in assisting developing and least-developed countries to better utilise trade facilitation programmes to reduce trade costs and more fully engage in the global economy.
Being an active member of the two global bodies, many believe Nigeria and other African countries can leverage on this initiative to boost their export of non-oil products, particularly now that crude oil prices at the spot markets are fluctuating and creating considerable anxiety in the economic management schemes of OPEC member states.
Trade facilitation initiative is aimed at reducing barriers developing countries now face moving goods quickly and cost-effectively by increasing port efficiency, improving customs and upgrading infrastructure to increase trade exports. and regulatory environments.
“Trade is a critical component to ending poverty and boosting shared prosperity and we are pleased to work with our partners at the WTO and other organisations to pursue these goals together,” said World Bank Group President, Jim Yong Kim.
Kim pointed out that recent research has revealed that African countries are missing out on opportunities for billions of dollars in extra export earnings because of existing trade barriers. “Trade facilitation was one of the important elements of the outcome from the Bali Ministerial meeting and we remain fully committed to supporting implementation of the Bali deal as we see the development benefits of reducing costs to trade,” he said.
In July, the WTO launched its Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility to ensure that no country is left behind and that all are able to access the support they need. The facility, which is designed to provide a fail-safe mechanism for developing countries that are unable to obtain support from the development community, will be available to help those countries implement the provisions of the Trade Facilitation Agreement agreed on by all WTO members at their December 2013 WTO meetings in Bali.
The WTO will work closely with partner organisations, including the World Bank Group, to identify sources of funding and support.
“I am delighted to announce this strengthened partnership between the World Bank Group and the WTO. Our coordinated efforts will ensure that developing countries are able to obtain the support they need to tackle the bottlenecks and high costs that impact so heavily on the competitiveness of traders in many developing countries. Our two organisations, working closely with all our development partners, will support trade facilitation reforms that are so crucial in cutting the costs of trade, alleviating poverty and promoting development,” said WTO Director General, Roberto Azevêdo.
In June, the World Bank Group announced a new Trade Facilitation Support Programme to assist developing countries to implement the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. As the world’s largest multilateral provider of trade-related assistance, the World Bank Group is a primary partner in the effort. The bank’s support in this area is now more than $13.2 billion in grants and financing, half of which is focused on trade facilitation.