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The SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP) is officially extended for an additional year

GTFP

A sign of the growing success of the SECO-WCO Global Trade Facilitation Programme (GTFP) is the recent approval of the No-Cost Extension of the Programme by both the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the World Customs Organization (WCO).

The GTFP started in December 2018 with four initial countries (Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Uzbekistan) and has expanded to Serbia and Ukraine as the second set of fully-fledged beneficiary countries. Guatemala and Bangladesh have also joined the Programme as Type 2 beneficiaries with ad-hoc interventions in specific TF topics.

The Programme will pursue three outcomes, thus responding to the main challenges identified in the area of Trade Facilitation:

  1. Organizational Development - Sustainable management of customs reforms and modernization by beneficiary Customs Administration trough enhanced organizational development capacities.
  2. Trade Facilitation–Facilitated and enhanced trade through modern and efficient customs procedures compliant with international standards and best practices;
  3. Performance measurement - A comprehensive performance measurement tool for Customs Administrations is developed.

Currently, the Programme is in its third year of implementation and has successfully completed over 45% of the overall planned activities and made significant progress towards the Programme’s objectives and results, achieving more than 50% on 2 out of 4 expected outcomes and reaching 25% of global outputs for the Organizational Development and Trade Facilitation components, despite the challenges presented by the COVID-19 Pandemic.

In this regard, the extension of the Programme for an additional 12-month period should allow the GTFP to make significant progress towards the achievement of the initial targets, in the hope of a gradual return to normality and face-to-face missions over the next year and a half.

This positive decision should also give the SECO-WCO-GTFP Team the opportunity to set the foundations for sustainable measures whose life cycle will outlive the GTFP’s cooperation with each of its beneficiary countries, thereby meeting one of the GTFP’s core objectives: to provide the Customs Administrations with a sound basis for its future work on identified areas and to further develop its organizational, institutional and infrastructural capacities in an autonomous and empowered manner.