Roseau, Dominica, May 15, 2014— IFC,
a member of the World Bank Group, today launched a two day regional workshop
on streamlining border clearance processes, with the aim of facilitating
trade and promoting regional integration in OECS countries. The event is
co-hosted by the Ministry of Trade and the Reform Management Unit in Dominica
and sponsored by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade,
as well as Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada.
IFC designed a new software system that connects
customs administrations to border control agencies and allows for a more
seamless approval of import declarations. Starting in July, this electronic
tool will be installed in Dominica, St Lucia and Grenada. It will replace
a paper based system of import clearance, creating a “greener,” faster
import approval and payment process. By next year, it is expected
to reduce by two-thirds the number of days it takes to obtain import approvals
from Bureaus of Standards.
The regional event – Facilitating Trade
through Automation: Integrating Border Agencies – brings together
participants from Antigua & Barbuda, Dominica, Grenada, St Kitts &
Nevis and St Lucia, including senior officials from the Bureaus of Standard,
Customs and Ministries of Trade. The aim is to define a strategy to fully
automate and integrate border clearances in the region and enhance cooperation
among different customs administrations.
“IFC’s support and expertise have been
crucial in helping us modernize and automate our processes so that we can
offer a better service to the private sector in Dominica as well as realigning
our systems and procedures with international standards,” said Dr. Steve
John, Director of the Dominica Bureau of Standards. “This peer to peer
learning event provides an excellent forum to improve regional integration
in the Caribbean through trade logistics reform.”
“Since its inception in 2007, IFC’s Trade
Logistics program, has implemented projects in over 50 countries, helping
them address bottlenecks, improve the efficiency of border management,
and support better coordination among customs agencies,” said Alvaro Quijandria,
IFC Regional Manager for Investment Climate in Latin America and the Caribbean.
“These reforms can all help fuel economic growth by reducing costs for
trade and increasing trade flows.”
Representatives from the OECS Secretariat,
Caribbean Development Bank and the Australian High Commission are also
attending the workshop, where the region’s development needs in meeting
its trade facilitation commitments will be highlighted.
Since 2000, IFC has committed approximately
$2.1 billion in the Caribbean, including $515.8 million in mobilizations.
IFC also supports public-private partnerships in energy, transport and
logistics infrastructure. We also implement programs to improve the business
climate, build the skills of local entrepreneurs, and promote access to
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