Press releases

Swedish backing for ITC trade-facilitation assistance

20 January 2014
ITC News

(Geneva) – The Government of Sweden stands ready to support the International Trade Centre (ITC) in its efforts to help developing countries implement the recent Trade Facilitation Agreement.

During a meeting with ITC Executive Director Arancha González, Sweden’s Director-General for Trade Eva Walder said that support for developing countries in implementing the requirements set out in the deal was crucial, and that ITC was well-placed to carry out the work.

‘This commitment towards ITC’s overall objectives shows the importance of Sweden’s long-term partnership with ITC,’ said Ms. Walder. ‘Sweden believes in the power of trade to create development. It’s important to provide the world's least developed countries with the conditions to become competitive and to increase their production of various goods.’

The Trade Facilitation Agreement, which was concluded at the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Ministerial Conference last December, sets out to cut red tape and simplify customs formalities. It is expected to increase global gross domestic product by US$ 1 trillion and create over 20 million jobs.

ITC will place a strong focus on helping least-developed countries implement the provisions of the Trade Facilitation Agreement through the Enhanced Integrated Framework (EIF). During the WTO Ministerial Meeting, Sweden committed US$ 3 million to the EIF for trade facilitation.

Last year Sweden confirmed its status as one of ITC’s biggest donors saying it would continue to provide annual funding of SEK 30 million (US$ 4.5 million) in 2013–2016.

‘With Swedish support, ITC has over the years been able to ensure that more women in developing countries participate in trade and that more poor communities reap the benefits of global trade,’ said Ms. González. ‘Sweden’s un-earmarked financial support is crucial for ITC to achieve its overarching goals, including efforts to mainstream inclusiveness and environmental sustainability across ITC programmes and projects.’

As a strategic partner and a driving force for change, Sweden has also encouraged ITC to become more results-oriented and more accountable. This support has allowed ITC to further invest in quality-control processes and results-based management to better measure the impact of the organization’s activities.

ITC is the joint agency of the World Trade Organization and the United Nations. ITC assists small and medium-sized enterprises in developing and transition economies to become more competitive in global markets, thereby contributing to sustainable economic development within the frameworks of the Aid-for-Trade agenda and the Millennium Development Goals.

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