February 18, 2015: IATA is closely following the developments around the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement, also called WTO Bali Package. The measures within this Agreement are intended to lead to important reductions in the cost of trade, mostly through harmonization of procedures and increased transparency. Its endorsement will also help the acceleration of e-freight, as well as contribute to reduce delays in the air cargo supply chain.
The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement will in particular oblige the signatory members to:
- Be more transparent on their Customs procedures, thus enhancing predictability of trade.
- Associate trade in the drafting of legislation related to the movement, release and clearance of goods (including transit), providing this way additional opportunities to ensure efficient regulations.
- Accept electronic supporting documents required for import, export, or transit formalities, therefore supporting the e-freight and e-AWB objectives.
What the air cargo industry can do:
After meeting with the United Nations Economic Cooperation for Europe (UNECE) and the World Bank last year, IATA met with the WTO in January. The discussion focused on how IATA could assist in promoting the implementation of an agreement that will favor the interests of airlines, freight forwarders and shippers.
The IATA Customs Advisory Group has moreover endorsed a position paper encouraging airlines and other transport and trade associations to engage with the competent authorities (e.g. Customs, Department of Trade, Ministry of Finance) in the coming months to further this aim and co-create an action plan to support the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
Details on the accession process to this instrument are available at the WTO website.