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European Commission

Algirdas Šemeta

Commissioner for Taxation, Customs, Statistics, Audit and Anti-Fraud

Faster, Cheaper, Simpler Trade: Everyone is a winner

Press conference after the 9th Ministerial Conference of the World Trade Organisation (WTO)/ Bali, Indonesia

7 December 2013

Today, everyone is a winner.

We have confirmed our belief that the multilateral system can deliver results.

We have not only agreed on new rules. We have agreed on proactive action to make trade flows between us simpler, faster and cheaper.

And this will pave the way for accelerated growth and economic prosperity worldwide.

Trade facilitation is the attractive centre-piece of this package.

What does this mean in practice?

It means less complex procedures, border bureaucracy and costs.

It means more transparency in rules, duties, rates and fees.

It means greater certainty for traders, and greater ease in trading.

To give you just a few examples:

More systematic use of risk management will allow smooth flows for reliable trade.

Widespread acceptance of electronic payments will align customs with our 21st century economy.

And more common sense rules – for example, accelerated procedures for perishable goods – will reflect the realities of our global trade

The win-win philosophy of trade facilitation is already a part of customs policy in certain parts of the world.

It certainly is so in the European Union.

However, today's agreement is a major step, because it shows that this approach is not just for the developed world.

The developing world has much to gain from trade facilitation too – and thanks to this package, they will.

[As Karl said] This deal can save them hundreds of billions of euros a year, and speed up their integration into the world economy.

Now we embark on the equally important path towards the full implementation of today's commitments.

Special attention must be paid to the needs of developing countries in this respect. This is part and parcel of the agreement.

Special and differential treatment will allow developing countries to adapt to the higher standards at a manageable pace. And they will be supported in doing so with international financial aid – not least from the EU.

Meanwhile, Europe – which has been a long-time campaigner for greater trade facilitation – is ready to set the pace in honouring the commitments made today in a coherent and coordinated way.

Ladies and Gentlemen,

Today’s agreement is a monumental one, which can change the face of world trade.

It shows that multilateral cooperation brings the best results.

It is a victory for global traders and for every country that signed up to it.

Now it is time to deliver.


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