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BBL: Trade Facilitation in Doha: Progress and Prospects

Sponsor: Poverty Reduction and Economic Management Network

Spekear: Bruce R. Hirsh, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative

Facilitator: Toni Matsudaira, PRMTR - Presentation (pdf - 760k)

Description: WTO members commenced negotiations on trade facilitation in 2004 with the aim of modernizing the existing GATT Articles V, VIII and X that were over 50 years old. The negotiation process has had positive impact in promoting trade facilitation in developing countries and has increased the visibility and focus on the importance of border management reform. Progress in the negotiations has been good and members are now working on a consolidated text of a future WTO TF Agreement. The new Agreement covers not only customs but also other border agencies practices and incorporates a process for ensuring members lacking implementation capacity are able to receive technical assistance and capacity building support as and when needed.

In spite of the lack of the relatively limited scope of the measures under negotiation and the lack of progress on other more contentious aspects of the Doha Development Agenda (DDA), the Bank regards the trade facilitation negotiations as an important catalyst for much needed reform. As such, the Bank launched a new program in 2005 that was designed to support the achievement of an ambitious and development friendly new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement. The program has been led by the Bank and has involved close cooperation with the WTO Secretariat and several key partners. As a part of the program the Bank together with partner organizations has conducted over 85 national technical assistance needs assessments in WTO member countries. The next stage of the Bank's support will be focussed on providing support for the practical implementation of the new Agreement if and when the specific provisions can be agreed.

To provide an update on progress and prospects in the DDA with a particular focus on the trade facilitation negotiations, the Customs and Border Management practice Group has invited Mr. Bruce R. Hirsh, Deputy Assistant US Trade Representative to provide an update on progress and US views on the trade facilitation negotiations.

Speakers' Bios:

Bruce Hirsh is the Deputy Assistant U.S. Trade Representative for WTO and Multilateral Affairs.  He is the lead U.S. negotiator in the WTO Trade Facilitation negotiations.  Previously he was USTR’s Chief Counsel for Dispute Settlement/DAUSTR for Monitoring and Enforcement, responsible for assisting in supervising U.S. dispute settlement efforts in the WTO and other fora.  He was also Legal Advisor to the U.S. Mission to the World Trade Organization in Geneva and an Associate General Counsel.  Before joining USTR, he was an attorney with O’Melveny & Myers in Tokyo and Washington.  He is a graduate of Brown University and Stanford Law School.

Tadatsugu (Toni) Matsudaira is Senior Trade Facilitation Specialist of the World Bank. He is the expert on Customs and border management reform and modernization and Trade Facilitation. He has contributed to several World Bank projects in these areas. His speciality covers in the collaborative border management within a country and cross-borders; public private partnership on trade facilitation; regional integration; dwell time study; support to WTO Trade Facilitation programs and 24/7 operations. Before joining the World Bank, Mr. Matsudaira worked for two intergovernmental organizations and one national government. He worked for the OECD from 1998 to 2001. His main agenda in the OECD was border procedural barriers. The 1st OECD trade facilitation paper was his product.  Mr. Matsudaira worked for the World Customs Organization (WCO) from 2003 to 2008. He was in charge of WCO trade facilitation instruments and tools, notably, the revised Kyoto Convention. The area of his most contribution was inter-agency cooperation in this area. During his term in the WCO, he established well the global partnership with, notably, WTO, World Bank, OECD, UNCTAD, ITC and Global Express Association (GEA). The WTO Trade Facilitation Self Needs Assessment Guide and the running model were a joint product of his and counterparts of the World Bank, WTO and other organizations.  He also served in the Government of Japan's Ministry of Finance, with special emphasis on Customs policy formulation and bilateral and multilateral trade negotiations. He was Tokyo-based head delegate to the WTO on trade facilitation program from 2001 to 2003. He had rich working experience on coordination of different stakeholders, notably, Ministries (Foreign affairs, Economy and Industry, Transport), local Customs offices, and private sector operators (Customs brokers, freight forwarders, shippers, airliners, IT solution providers). Awarded by JICA scholarship, he studied Quantitative Development Economics in the University of Warwick and Development Theory in the School of Oriental and African Studies, University of London, UK.

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