On 16 November 2017, the annual International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in Northeast Asia took place in Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia. The seminar was jointly hosted by the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (UNESCAP) and the Greater Tumen Initiative (GTI). The main topic of the seminar was the World Trade Organizations’ (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Participants from respective Ministries and agencies of the GTI member countries as well as UNESCAP, World Customs Organization (WCO), and WTO expressed their views on advancing implementation of the WTO TFA and enhancing trade facilitation in the region with better customs procedures and transport connectivity.

As a long standing partner of GTI, the GIZ SCSI Programme contributed to the discussion by providing a presentation on GIZ experiences with the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation. As a relatively new instrument to strengthen the WTO TFA in developing countries, GIZ highlighted the importance of involving the private sector in project implementation to address specific trade bottlenecks in developing and emerging economies.

The seminar was immediately followed by the Customs Sub-Committee (CSC) as well as the GTI Trade and Investment Committee (TIC) on 17 November where achievements of the last year as well as potential Projects for the future were presented and discussed. GIZ and other international organisations supporting GTI participated as observers.