Establishing a National Working Group on Trade Facilitation Challenges and Lessons Learned Presented by Elizabeth Tamale Ministry of Tourism, Trade and Industry Uganda
Introduction • Uganda carried out self needs assessment in 3-7 December 2007 • Participants Recommended that: • Private sector should participate more in the negotiating issues of TF • Further consultations should occur to determine how to best strengthen the functioning of agencies with trade-related responsibilities involving private and public sector. • Accountability and monitoring strategies through regular interagency meetings coordinated by MTTI should be developed.
Received technical assistance from UNECE/ Camlexa Consulting to analyse TF using Buy-Ship-Pay concept using module developed by CAMLEXA, 2008. • Participants emphasized the need for a National Working Group on Trade Facilitation to handle all matters related to Trade facilitation and not only the negotiations as previously envisaged • Developed a draft Workplan for the establishment of the NWGTF
Tasks identified • Build upon the report and matrix of Uganda’s self assessment on TF needs on a regular basis • Build on the National TF plan developed during the Entebbe Workshop 20-24 October 2008 • Provide support to Geneva based officials, involved in WTO negotiations and ongoing TF negotiations • Provide technical advice on TF negotiations in the EAC, COMESA and EPAs • Monitor implementation of measures arising from different negotiations • Identify capacity building needs and donor assistance for their implementation • Develop and monitor the COMESA Simplified, Trade Regime (STR) work plan
Tasks • Work with the Tripartite Task Force of the Regional Trade Facilitation Program to address TF harmonization in the EAC, COMESA and SADC regions. • Analyse barriers to trade facilitation and make policy recommendations on reform • Identify issues affecting the cost and efficiency of the country’s international trade • Provide a national focal point for the collection and dissemination of information on best practices in international trade facilitation • Review and evaluate progress of negotiations and make recommendations for adjustments in a timely manner.
Membership • Private Sector members include the following; • Uganda Clearing and Forwarding Association • Private Sector Foundation Uganda • Uganda National Chamber of Commerce and Industry • Kampala City Traders Association (KACITA) • Uganda Manufacturers Association • Exporters Association • Transport Operators • Financial services including insurance
Government Ministries and Agencies • Ministry of Tourism Trade and Industry • Ministry of Finance, Planning and Economic Development • Ministry of Agriculture, Animal Industry and Fisheries • Ministry of Justice and Constitutional Affairs • Ministry of Foreign Affairs • Ministry of ICT • Ministry of Works and Transport • Uganda Revenue Authority • Uganda Export Promotion Board • Uganda National Bureau of Standards • Uganda Investment Authority
Key External Partners identified • WTO • OECD • UNCTAD • UNECE • UN/CEFACT • World Customs Organization (WCO) • International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) • Regional trade facilitation projects • Local Donors
Structure • NWGTF chaired by MTTI/deputized by Private sector Organization • 3 sub-committees have been proposed: • Customs –Uganda Revenue Authority • Transport-Ministry of Works and Transport • Technical assistance and capacity building –Ministry of Finance • All deputized by private sector repr. • MTTI to provide the secretariat • The terms of reference for these subcommittees are yet to be established
Cont • Operating on limited budget under the External Trade Dept of MTTI • Meetings held quarterly/before negotiations, 2 have been held in 2009 focusing on WTO/TF negotiations • Cabinet info paper prepared • Work plan needs refining taking into account the tasks which have been identified.
The NWGTF will also use the UN CEFACT supply chain reference model as a basis to examine commercial, transport, regulatory and financial procedures to ensure simplification, transparency, predictability and efficiency.
Challenges • Needs assessment done in 2007, need to review the progress taking into account the development in the negotiations • Limited capacity of the NWGTF to analyse TACB needs, develop schedule of commitments and implementation plans • Capacity to follow up on the regional initiatives • MTTI is the secretariat but has limited capacity (financial and human resources)
cont • Recognition and support of other agencies and ministries and agencies i.e. Ministry of Finance • TF border committees not yet in place yet are important source of information • Coordination with other agencies and programs handling TF elements/ negotiations COMESA, EAC and EPAs and other Trade facilitation task forces. • Sustainability of the NWGTF
Conclusion • The NWGTF should be treated initially as project with external funding. Can evolve into a permanent fixture at a later stage • Support required to fund activities of the task force including a secretariat • Widening of the mandate of the working group requires support from all agencies including political support • TACB required to develop work plan, budgets • Share experience with successful working groups.