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May 20, 2019

UNCTAD Hosts Trade Facilitation Workshop in Belize

The United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Directorate of Foreign Trade and the Customs and Excise Department kicked off a series of workshops under the Empowerment Programme for National Trade Facilitation Committees. The first session, “Planning Skills for Implementing Trade Facilitation Reforms,” started today in Belize City and continues through to Friday.  Today, we stopped in at the opening session where we spoke with Andy Sutherland of the Directorate of Foreign Trade. Sutherland says that the UNCTAD is providing the technical assistance to help Belize devise process and procedures in order to implement the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement and improve efficiencies in customs in cross border trade.


Andy Sutherland

Andy Sutherland, Director General, Foreign Trade

“The workshop will highlight the main provisions for the agreement and those provisions lay out the standard for implementing the agreement and cuts across the key components of cross border trade and clearance release process. So, it touches some issues such as risk management which customs administration employs in their day to day activities. It touches on single window which is a platform if we are able to implement in Belize would drastically reduce the time and cost of clearing goods through customs, provide access to importers and consumers on the relevant laws and procedures and regulations that are employed in the clear and release process.”


Andrea Polanco

“Talk to us about what this particular training mean for the wider trade that Belize does; what does it mean for the work of your unit?”


Andy Sutherland

“This workshop will assist Belize with developing its implementation roadmap for that agreement. This agreement is an innovative agreement coming out of WTO where you are obligated to implement the agreement however you do so based upon your capacity and ability to afford implementing those provisions. So, the roadmap will give Belize the platform to say to donors that this is how we want to go and this is the resources required to get there. And because there is a commitment at the international level between donors and developing countries, we would be able to access the finances that are out there to implement the agreement.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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