WTO members recently reached a consensus on the agreement at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013. If the agreement finally passes after almost a decade of negotiations, it could increase global GDP by over $1 trillion.
Kristin Isabelli,USCIB’s director of customs policy, attended an ICC Trade Facilitation and Customs Commission meeting in Paris from June 12 to 13, where she showcased the work of the Global Trade Facilitation Agreement Coalition – a partnership between USCIB, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Foreign Trade Council and the Express Association of America – in helping to move the agreement forward. Isabelli also serves as ICC’s representative to the World Customs Organization’s Harmonized System Committee.
The international business community, represented by the Global Trade Facilitation Agreement Coalition, has much to gain from the WTO trade agreement. The agreement is estimated to cut the cost of trade by 10 percent in developed countries and by 15 percent in developing countries. It will also create new jobs and slash red tape at the border. The coalition came together to organize private sector interests and to develop a strategic action plan to optimize the agreement’s implementation.
Isabelli noted that the coalition seeks to work closely with the International Chamber Commerce (ICC), the WTO and the World Customs Organization and stressed the importance of working with different countries’ local business communities.
“The agreement is going to be a heavy lift,” said Isabelli. “We want our coalition to be a global initiative.”
The coalition aims to be inclusive within the business community and plans to coordinate among the private sector and among the WTO member governments. Given that the agreement’s implementation will take a long time, Isabelli described the process as a “marathon versus a sprint,” and that business needs to be prepared to put its energies into the agreement for the long term.
“We are working very closely with our own government, and they are thrilled that we are setting up this coalition,” Isabelli said of the U.S. government. “They want to work closely with us.”
Staff contact: Kristin Isabelli