• May 21, 2014

On May 6, Lisa Yarmoshuk, a vice president at Nathan Associates, described to customs representatives from around the world how they can use information technology to facilitate trade and meet the requirements of the new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

Speaking at the annual conference of the World Customs Organization, held this year in Brisbane, Australia, Ms. Yarmoshuk explained the significance of IT to five articles of the TFA: 1—publication and availability of information; 3—advance rulings; 7—release and clearance; 10—import/export formalities; and 11—freedom of transit.

She drew heavily on the firm’s experience in Trade Facilitation, particularly with single windows, advance rulings, and online trade portals. One key lesson: the benefits of trade-related IT depend on having proper laws, regulations, and procedures in place.

Nathan Associates has attended previous WCO conferences in Dubai, Tallinn, Seattle, Dublin, and Marrakesh and will attend next year’s conference in Dakar. The theme of this year’s conference was “Information Technology as a Catalyst for Economic Competitiveness: Innovation Powering Facilitation of International Trade & Tourism.”

Most conference exhibitors were IT vendors offering trade facilitation tools such as online tariff and regulation repositories, anticounterfeiting solutions, and single window systems. To help customs administrations and other border agencies benefit fully from IT, Nathan Associates advises on improvements in procedures, laws and regulations, compliance systems, and automation, including single windows. (Right: Rachid Benjelloun and Abby Boettger of Nathan Associates speak with customs officials from Bangladesh and Zambia.)

Take a look at some of Nathan Associates’ own trade facilitation products and guides, some proprietary and some produced for the United States Agency for International Development, and some produced also in cooperation with the WCO: Trade Facilitation Calculator; TCBaseline Customs Assessment Tool; Advance Rulings Resource Guide; Postclearance Audit Programs; and Customs-related Technical Assistance and Trade Capacity Building.

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