UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia, (UN-ESCWA), Mr. Bader Al Dafa, arrives in Amman tomorrow, Tuesday, to open the inter-regional forum on “Trade Facilitation and Regional Trade Agreements” held on 14-15 November 2007 in Kempinski Hotel in Amman, Jordan. During his visit, Al Dafa is to meet with the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Abdelelah Al-Khatib, the Minister of Planning and International Cooperation, Mrs. Suhair Al-Ali, and the Minister of Trade and Industry, Mr. Salem Khazaaleh.
UN-ESCWA Executive Secretary will also be delivering an inaugural address at the forum, which opens at 10:00 AM on Wednesday 14 November, 2007, and which will be attended by representatives of trade, economy and finance ministries, as well as of customs administrations in several member countries from the regions of the five UN Commissions. In addition, representatives of private sector organizations and institutions in the Arab region and other regions will be present. A number of relevant international and regional organizations will also take part in the forum, namely the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), the World Customs Organization (WCO), the World Trade Organization (WTO), the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the League of Arab States, and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), besides the participation of eminent experts on trade facilitation and regional issues.
The forum, which is held in cooperation with the Ministry of Industry and Trade in Jordan, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UN-ECE), the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UN-ESCAP), the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (UN-ECLAC), the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UN-ECA), and UN-ESCWA, will focus on the creation of synergies and compatibility between regional and international trade facilitation patterns to promote trade. It is an attempt to go beyond the prevailing perspectives on Regional Trade Agreements (RTAs), to provide a platform for discussion on the nature of trade facilitation processes and mechanisms under RTAs, which promote regional trade, and enhance their global compatibility. Through identifying these trade facilitation mechanisms, the forum will form an ample opportunity for participants from regional and international organizations, governments and businesses to shape a consensus on how to carry them forward globally from their regional setup to create complementarities with the trade facilitation work ongoing on the multilateral level. By translating such consensus towards the adoption of international standards for trade facilitation within RTAs, regional signatories will be in a better position to embody identified trade facilitation measures and standards in their trade agreements.