In December 2018, Switzerland’s State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) and the WCO signed a 5.5 million Swiss Franc contract to jointly support selected Members of the WCO and their stakeholders, including the private sector, in the implementation of their priority trade facilitation initiatives. The cooperation program called ‘Global Trade Facilitation Program (GTFP) will be implemented by the WCO and managed over the next four years by a Programme Team at the WCO Secretariat in Brussels.
SECO belongs to the Swiss Federal Department of Economic Affairs and is Switzerland’s competence center for economic policy. The GTFP is part of the economic cooperation and development implemented by Switzerland worldwide to support the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Switzerland’s economic cooperation and development is particularly focusing on advanced developing and transition countries in the southern and in the eastern part of the world, where 70% of the people suffering from poverty live. Switzerland’s objective for the collaboration with the WCO is to enhance trade and competitiveness, i.e. better integrating partner countries into the world economy through more competitiveness, export-oriented value chains and sustainable trade.
The Swiss funded GTFP, is an initiative that supports beneficiary countries in the area of organizational development (leadership and management development, strategic management, HR-management, partnership development and project management), but provides also more technical assistance to implement trade facilitation measures. Furthermore, the program supports the WCO in the development of its comprehensive performance measurement approach and related tools, and in the further improvement of its Leadership and Management Development Program (LMDP). Bolivia, Colombia, Peru and Uzbekistan will be the first countries to benefit from the GFTP. The program will also identify opportunities to provide comprehensive or ad-hoc support to other countries, depending on country needs.
On 4 March 2019, SECO and the Swiss Mission to the EU in Brussels participated in the 11th Trade Facilitation Working Group Meeting held at the WCO Secretariat and presented the new GFTP program. The WCO expressed its enthusiasm about the new partnership with Switzerland and looks forward to a fruitful and sustainable cooperation.