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About us


The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation is a public-private partnership. With support from the German Federal Government, companies, business associations and ministries around the world come together to make international trade faster and simpler.

In the joint projects, the time and costs involved in cross-border trade are reduced significantly. The German Alliance assists developing countries and emerging economies in removing bureaucratic barriers and making customs procedures more efficient and secure, in particular through use of digital solutions.

Trade facilitation measures strengthen partners in the countries and promote local economies. They create incentives for international companies to invest in new markets and integrate local suppliers and producers into global supply chains. Implementing trade facilitation measures is therefore in the interests of the private sector and governments.

The World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement creates the framework for our strategy and approach. Furthermore, projects aim at implementation of trade facilitation measures as part of regional trade agreements, such as the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). By facilitating trade and economic development the German Alliance contributes to the 2030 Agenda and the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals.

Partners in the German Alliance come together in working meetings and in other exchange fora to discuss new and ongoing projects and topics. The German Alliance has a common strategic approach, and cooperation is based on jointly defined guidelines. A representative steering committee acts as an ambassador. The partners pool their resources in Germany and in the project countries and create together an impetus for new and existing trade facilitation initiatives.

Company and Association Contributions

German, international and national companies are actively engaged in the work of the German Alliance. With respect to their value chains and customers, they identify challenges in cross-border trade and initiate new projects or join existing ones. They cooperate with the relevant government agencies, contributing their extensive expertise.

The business associations in Germany and the partner countries represent the interests of their broad membership base, especially of small and medium-sized enterprises. They mobilize their member companies and use their events, media and networks to support the Alliance’s goals.

Government Contributions

The German Federal Government supports the German Alliance within the scope of its respective responsibilities. As part of its mandate for German development cooperation, the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ) is responsible for the political governance of the German Alliance. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK) functions as a bridge to the WTO, in particular by keeping the relevant WTO committees informed about the latest results achieved by the German Alliance.

The governments of the project countries decide on reforms and activities that might be implemented jointly with the German Alliance. In accordance with the TFA, governments can report their willingness to cooperate with Germany and to launch projects; within a project, the local governments are the decisive actors. Depending on the focus of a given project, ministries of trade and finance and customs and other border agencies may be involved in its implementation.

Role of the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

As a service provider in international cooperation for sustainable development, GIZ is active in Germany as well as in the partner countries, providing expertise for the planning, management and implementation of reform projects. Its global network forms the basis for successful projects in developing and emerging countries.

Government Contributions

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Company and Association Contributions

Testimonials from our partners

  • Dr. Thomas Becker

    HEAD OF POLICY AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS, BMW AG

    The BMW Group stands for worldwide free trade. As a company that operates in international markets and maintains a global production network, barrier-free market access is a decisive success factor for us. The members of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation are involved in tailor-made sustainable projects to remove barriers to cross-border trade. This benefits both the companies involved and the partner countries. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation thus makes a significant contribution to growth, prosperity and employment in the global economy.

  • Jochen Dächert

    VICE PRESIDENT GLOBAL CUSTOMS & FOREIGN TRADE, BASF SE

    Our chemistry is used in almost all industries. Our products are manufactured at more than 347 locations worldwide and supplied to customers all over the world. Free global trade is essential for this. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation supports these efforts in very concrete ways in order to facilitate trade in different countries. In particular, cooperation with local authorities represents a high added value for globally active companies such as BASF, because free world trade enables us to supply our customers more reliably and faster.

  • Tanja Gönner

    FORMER CHAIR OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD, DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR INTERNATIONALE ZUSAMMENARBEIT (GIZ) GMBH

    Over 100% more customs clearances within one hour of the arrival of goods using digital customs processes: this success has been achieved by GIZ together with companies, associations and partner countries in projects of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation. The partners in the German Alliance are working together to reduce time and costs in cross-border trade. GIZ ensures that German Alliance projects bring about sustainable changes for all parties involved, for partner countries and for the economy.

  • Dr. Gerd Müller

    FORMER FEDERAL MINISTER FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

    Developing countries need fair trade. In this regard, we are making much greater leaps in development than with public money. Reducing trade barriers helps developing countries to participate in local, regional and global trade. The costs of trade are reduced, and fair competition can take place. At the same time, these simplifications help local producers and create new opportunities for investment and development — and this is also true for German companies. We need the expertise of German industry so that we can improve trade with developing countries in a targeted manner. This is what we are achieving together with our partners in the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

  • Dagmar Mundani

    GENERAL COUNSEL, SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS AG

    Moving up the value chain and tapping into global markets is one of the main challenges for many developing countries. Often, high transaction costs impede the access of domestic businesses to global markets. Overcoming trade barriers is crucial to tackle this challenge. Government, business and development organizations need to join forces to work together on reducing red tape at the border and making trade and customs procedures faster and easier. In its targeted trade facilitation projects worldwide, the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation aims to reduce time and costs for trade procedures, benefiting businesses and governments alike.

    We encourage companies to join forces with this important initiative.

  • Steven Pope

    VICE PRESIDENT CUSTOMS & REGULATORY AFFAIRS, DHL EXPRESS EUROPE

    As the world’s most international company, at DHL, in offering logistics solutions to our customers, we see firsthand the negative impact of overly bureaucratic and costly customs and border controls. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation offers us and many other German businesses the opportunity to help change the landscape, working together with the German government to improve the trading environment via well-defined, outcome-oriented projects in target countries. Combining the expertise of the business community with the development expertise of GIZ maximizes the opportunity to deliver real sustainable growth. Supporting trade is our business, and supporting the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation was an opportunity that we could not and would not want to miss.

  • Eckart von Klaeden

    VICE PRESIDENT, HEAD OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, MERCEDES-BENZ GROUP AG

    The automotive industry is undergoing the greatest transformation in its history. We can only successfully address the shift toward e-mobility, increasing digitalization and the challenge of climate protection on a global scale. Free trade and fair competition form the basis for prosperity, growth and innovative strength. In the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation, we are therefore committed to the sustainable dismantling of trade barriers of all kinds. With its diverse projects, the alliance strengthens the integration of new markets into global value chains, thus creating a win-win situation for all parties involved.

    • Dr. Thomas Becker

      HEAD OF POLICY AND EXTERNAL RELATIONS, BMW AG

      The BMW Group stands for worldwide free trade. As a company that operates in international markets and maintains a global production network, barrier-free market access is a decisive success factor for us. The members of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation are involved in tailor-made sustainable projects to remove barriers to cross-border trade. This benefits both the companies involved and the partner countries. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation thus makes a significant contribution to growth, prosperity and employment in the global economy.

    • Jochen Dächert

      VICE PRESIDENT GLOBAL CUSTOMS & FOREIGN TRADE, BASF SE

      Our chemistry is used in almost all industries. Our products are manufactured at more than 347 locations worldwide and supplied to customers all over the world. Free global trade is essential for this. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation supports these efforts in very concrete ways in order to facilitate trade in different countries. In particular, cooperation with local authorities represents a high added value for globally active companies such as BASF, because free world trade enables us to supply our customers more reliably and faster.

    • Tanja Gönner

      FORMER CHAIR OF THE MANAGEMENT BOARD, DEUTSCHE GESELLSCHAFT FÜR INTERNATIONALE ZUSAMMENARBEIT (GIZ) GMBH

      Over 100% more customs clearances within one hour of the arrival of goods using digital customs processes: this success has been achieved by GIZ together with companies, associations and partner countries in projects of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation. The partners in the German Alliance are working together to reduce time and costs in cross-border trade. GIZ ensures that German Alliance projects bring about sustainable changes for all parties involved, for partner countries and for the economy.

    • Dr. Gerd Müller

      FORMER FEDERAL MINISTER FOR ECONOMIC COOPERATION AND DEVELOPMENT

      Developing countries need fair trade. In this regard, we are making much greater leaps in development than with public money. Reducing trade barriers helps developing countries to participate in local, regional and global trade. The costs of trade are reduced, and fair competition can take place. At the same time, these simplifications help local producers and create new opportunities for investment and development — and this is also true for German companies. We need the expertise of German industry so that we can improve trade with developing countries in a targeted manner. This is what we are achieving together with our partners in the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation.

    • Dagmar Mundani

      GENERAL COUNSEL, SIEMENS HEALTHINEERS AG

      Moving up the value chain and tapping into global markets is one of the main challenges for many developing countries. Often, high transaction costs impede the access of domestic businesses to global markets. Overcoming trade barriers is crucial to tackle this challenge. Government, business and development organizations need to join forces to work together on reducing red tape at the border and making trade and customs procedures faster and easier. In its targeted trade facilitation projects worldwide, the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation aims to reduce time and costs for trade procedures, benefiting businesses and governments alike.

      We encourage companies to join forces with this important initiative.

    • Steven Pope

      VICE PRESIDENT CUSTOMS & REGULATORY AFFAIRS, DHL EXPRESS EUROPE

      As the world’s most international company, at DHL, in offering logistics solutions to our customers, we see firsthand the negative impact of overly bureaucratic and costly customs and border controls. The German Alliance for Trade Facilitation offers us and many other German businesses the opportunity to help change the landscape, working together with the German government to improve the trading environment via well-defined, outcome-oriented projects in target countries. Combining the expertise of the business community with the development expertise of GIZ maximizes the opportunity to deliver real sustainable growth. Supporting trade is our business, and supporting the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation was an opportunity that we could not and would not want to miss.

    • Eckart von Klaeden

      VICE PRESIDENT, HEAD OF EXTERNAL AFFAIRS, MERCEDES-BENZ GROUP AG

      The automotive industry is undergoing the greatest transformation in its history. We can only successfully address the shift toward e-mobility, increasing digitalization and the challenge of climate protection on a global scale. Free trade and fair competition form the basis for prosperity, growth and innovative strength. In the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation, we are therefore committed to the sustainable dismantling of trade barriers of all kinds. With its diverse projects, the alliance strengthens the integration of new markets into global value chains, thus creating a win-win situation for all parties involved.

      Join us

      The German Alliance thrives on the active contributions of its partners. We invite all interested companies, business associations and government institutions to engage with us to make international trade faster and more efficient.

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