FTA joins forces for successful outcome of WTO negotiations


Brussels, 3 December 2013 - Two hours before the official start of the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference, SME Global joined forces with EuroCommerce and the Foreign Trade Association (FTA) to express strong support for a successful outcome of the ongoing negotiations, in particular on Trade Facilitation.

Trade Facilitation means the multilateral simplification, harmonisation and enhanced transparency in customs procedures, promoting the sharing of best practices between customs authorities of major trading partners, and providing technical assistance in the area of customs to LDCs to enable their authorities to operate efficiently.

According to the OECD, trade costs could be reduced by up to 10 percent on the total product cost; only one percent less would already mean a boost to the 7 billion consumers of this world by 40 billion Euros.

"This means more quantity and quality for less money on the consumers side. Following progress in the WTO negotiations, producers can pay higher wages and provide better social security. On top of this, European exporters and importers stand to gain massively" said Dr. Paul Rübig, President of SME Global.

In impulse statements following Dr. Rübig's key note speech, Ralph Kamphöner, Director International Trade and Wholesale, EuroCommerce, and Pierre Gröning, senior trade policy expert, Foreign Trade Association (FTA), reinforced the strong call for a deal on Trade Facilitation.

"Import and export are two sides of the same coin. If Europe wants to stay competitive in the changing world market, it needs to import in order to be able to export to other parts of the world. Easing customs and border procedures through a WTO Trade Facilitation agreement is a key contribution to this end - an almost free of charge vitamine injection to the economy", said Ralph Kamphöner.

"In times of immense economic challenges, business worldwide is waiting impatiently for negotiators to show leadership and demonstrate the ability of the WTO to really deliver. The current trade rule book is not adequate to keep pace with the quickly transforming business realities", said Pierre Gröning.

"Trade Facilitation is about fighting against corruption, market abuse and monopolies" said Dr. Rübig, who also gave a detailed overview of the Parliamentary Conference on the WTO the day before the start of the negotiations, where he spoke additionally about the post-Bali agenda of multilateral trade negotiations in front of more than 250 Parliamentarians representing 60 countries.

"From a deal on Trade Facilitation, consumers will gain considerably more buying power, producers will be able to create more and better paid jobs and the WTO would result reinforced thanks to new trust and momentum", concluded Dr. Rübig.

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