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May 24, 2019

Making Trade Easier, Efficient

A trade facilitation workshop organized by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development came to an end today in the Old Capital. Essentially, the aim was to bring together all stakeholders, both from the private and public sectors, to discuss and provide solutions to many of the day-to-day challenges. What is discussed will be factored in creating the Implementation Road Map and Plan. The three to five year plan is expected to be completed by the end of 2019. Hipolito Novelo has the story.

 

Hipolito Novelo, Reporting

Making trade easier and more efficient for all stakeholders was the primary goal of a five-day seminar that concluded today in Belize City. The seminar “Planning Skills for Implementing Trade Facilitation Reforms’ held under the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, seeks to provide technical assistance to the Belize National Trade Facilitation Committee.

 

Andy Sutherland

Andy Sutherland, Director General, Foreign Trade

“…which is the body that the government has instituted to implement the WTO trade facilitation agreement. Once we are through we can point to something that is visible, that works, that provides traders as well as consumers cost savings, efficiency gains and an overall improved trading environment for Belize.”

 

Facilitator, Pamela Ugaz, says this week’s sessions also focused on developing an Implementation Road Map and Plan to effectively put in place the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. Ugaz says that Belize has room for improvement.

 

Pamela Ugaz

Pamela Ugaz, Facilitator

“Belize is doing things. It is not performing at the best at its capacity. In the region they are in the average. I think there is room for improvements. One of the challenges that came across all our interactions with the customs officer is the lack of resources. There are very knowledgeable people, very motivated but sometimes there are not enough people to handle the volume of work that they have in customs.”

 

The road map, a three to five-year plan, is expected to be completed by the end of the year.

 

Andy Sutherland

“We want the road map to be comprehensive and we enlisted the assistance of UNCTAD to guide the process. This is the first of three main engagements, When we are finished here we will have a basic outline of that road map. Then we will do some online consultations with them, some more capacity building modules online. In the third quarter they will b e back in Belize where we can fine tune and have a final document ready to be presented to the traders and the general public.”

 

Hipolito Novelo, News Five.


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