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Rethinking trade facilitation – New cooperation approaches for the reduction of trade barriers

At the initiative of the partners of the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation, the Alliance organized the first High-Level Forum RETHINKING TRADE FACILITATION – A new approach to public-private cooperation on September 9, 2019. On this occasion, almost 100 guests from politics and business gathered at the Museum for Communication in Berlin to discuss the challenges and joint approaches for the reduction of barriers in cross-border trade.

In his opening speech, Norbert Barthle (Parliamnetry State Secretary, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development) emphasized the importance of cooperation between a wide range of stakeholders in order to simplify the highly complex processes of international trade and customs procedures. The Alliance’s projects are a good approach, as they promise benefits for all actors directly and indirectly involved. Local SMSEs in particular would thus have the opportunity to participate in international trade. Barthle’s appeal to all those present was clear: only through close cooperation can the Alliance’s projects contribute to sustainable development and thus to the Agenda 2030.

Dr. Christian Forwick (Director General, German Federal Ministry for Economic Affiars and Energy) focused in particular on the global framework, the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO). The implementation of the Alliance projects contributes directly to the implementation of this agreement.

As a long-standing partner of the Alliance and co-host at the Museum for Communication, Dr. Thomas Ogilvie (Member of the Board of Deutsche Post DHL Group) also emphasized that trust between the numerous stakeholders must be created in order to use the potential of trade as a way for prosperity and sustainable development. He also advocated for linking international standards in retail with digitization and innovation. The Alliance for Trade Facilitation with its innovative project approaches, for example in the planned Blockchain project in Morocco, is a good opportunity for this.

Following the keynote speeches, Dr. Ogilivie discussed in an open panel round with Dr. Stefan Mair (Member of the Executive Board of BDI e.V.), Stojanka Milosevic (Head of Department, Customs Montenegro), Denys Gutenko (Acting Commissioner, State Fiscal Service, Ukraine) and Alejandro Gamboa-Alder (Secretary of the WTO Council for Trade in Goods). The exchange was particularly fruitful due to the contributions from the experiences of the partner companies and the project countries of the Alliance. All participants agreed that the meeting in such a round with the support of the German government was an important milestone in the Alliance multi-actor approach and its projects.

Further information on the event, the photo gallery and the video recording can be found under this link.