German Alliance for Trade Facilitation

Dear readers,

This Newsletter provides a quarterly update on the German Alliance for Trade Facilitation. It covers the main activities of the Alliance in Germany and recent developments in selected Alliance projects abroad. 

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News from Germany

7th working meeting of the Alliance - for the first time in a digital format

Due to the worldwide spread of the corona virus, the 7th working meeting of the "German Alliance for Trade Facilitation" took place virtually on 25 March. Originally an event was organized at the invitation of the partner BASF in Ludwigshafen. Numerous established partners and new interested companies were present.

The approximately 40 participants have…

…selected a new project country: Egypt. The decision was based on an idea competition organized once a year by the Alliance. All interested companies can submit proposals.

…been able to catch up on the latest developments of the current Alliance projects. There are currently 13 projects worldwide working on various aspects of trade facilitation such as risk management systems for customs or the simplification of documents for customs clearance.

…discussed new project ideas on the initiative of companies. These include a booklet for a simplified overview of customs procedures and a new digital data platform for faster clearance of sea freight.

The next working meeting of the Alliance is expected to be held in August/September 2020 at the renewed invitation of BASF.

News from Projects

An important part of the Alliance’s work is developing and implementing projects between the private and the public sector in several partner countries.

Setting up a Risk Management Pilot Program

The Ministry of Trade’s Risk Management Task Force Team in collaboration with GIZ Alliance for Trade Facilitation are jointly working towards process optimizations and risk-based approaches related to licensing and post border controls. Together with the Directorate General of Customs and the Indonesia National Single Window (INSW), the partners discussed in February 2020 how manufacturing companies that have the Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) status can help test and refine the new processes to be implemented.  

AEO companies have a proven compliance track record and are thus especially suited to test the changes. On business side, there is great interest to be involved in the pilot project. The project team held several private sector meetings to confirm active participation and prepare how to operationally test the benefits under the program. 

Also, in February 2020, Heru Pambudi, Director General of Customs and Excise, invited the Ministry of Trade Risk Management Task Force Team for a training on Risk Intelligence and Risk Targeting at customs premises. The training had the objective to share best practices on a systematic application of risk criteria at Customs and to support the task force team in building-up risk intelligence parameters at the Ministry of Trade.  

The project focuses on distinguishing between high risk and low risk traders to simplify trade procedures for two core processes: issuing import and export licenses and controlling goods post-border after customs release. These two processes, piloted in the project, can then serve as a starting point for developing an integrated risk management system. 

Preparations for regular operation of the PAP are underway

The Serbian customs administration has set up the legal and IT framework for implementing the new Pre-Arrival Processing system (PAP). All three national express operators have applied for a license for this trade facilitation measure and have already been approved.

Henceforth, the last pilot phase is due. Within this phase the express providers have to adapt their own IT systems to the new standards enabling an automatic data exchange between the customs administration and express companies. This will be accompanied by a change management process particularly designed to address the employees of customs and express providers.

The implementation of regionally agreed trade facilitation measures is a political priority for the region. To align implementation standards regionally and to ensure similar working procedures, Serbian and Montenegrin customs officials regularly exchange information with colleagues from other Western Balkan countries on their progress in project implementation and lessons learned. This has created a valuable network that facilitates the introduction of Pre-Arrival Processing systems in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo and Northern Macedonia.


Processes to simplify trade procedures identified

In January 2020 the Alliance launched the new Trade Facilitation Project in Ukraine together with the Ministry for Development of Economy, Trade and Agriculture (MEDTA) and Ukrainian Customs. All stakeholders now engage in a co-creation process to further specify those trade processes to be simplified within the project. On the side of the private sector global and local companies are involved including BASF, DHL, Metro, and Bosch.

The objective of the project is to achieve time and cost reductions for the private sector as well as simplified and uniform processes for government institutions. Stakeholders have identified four potential processes for further cooperation:

  • Simplification of customs procedures (e.g. document simplifications and uniform requirements regarding the presentation of originals).
  • Simplification for postal and courier services (e.g. improvement of notification processes between express couriers and customs).
  • Transport simplification (e.g. accepting the document “International Carriage of Goods by Road” (CMR) instead of national transport documents).
  • Control simplification (e.g. the regulation for wood packaging).

In a next step, the processes outlined above will be compared and contrasted to international best practices mainly focusing on standard EU procedures. Based on this information, the Ministry jointly with public and private stakeholders will develop a plan on how to effectively adapt processes in order to achieve the desired results.

Potential topics for the new project identified 

The second scoping mission to Bangkok was conducted in January 2020 to narrow down the many possible topics for the future project. A team of German and Thai representatives of GIZ was on site for two weeks with the support of an international trade facilitation expert. The preparations have taken important next steps for the new Alliance project in Thailand and are becoming increasingly more concrete. Three possible topics were identified:

  • Modernization of customs valuation (Thai Customs Administration)
  • Introduction of a more efficient system for issuing certificates of origin (Thai Ministry of Commerce)
  • Digitization of transport processes at the port of Bangkok (Port Authority of Thailand)

About 20 discussions and workshops with representatives of local and international companies, Thai industrial associations and chambers, the German-Thai Chamber of Commerce (AHK), the Thai Ministry of Commerce, the Thai Customs Administration, two researchers and the German Embassy were held.

It is intended to select one of the three possible project topics combining the interests of the private and public sector. The project will contribute to the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Initially, further talks in Bangkok were planned for April 2020. Due to the global corona crisis these had to be postponed. The preparations and discussions will continue in virtual formats as far as possible. The project start is still scheduled for 2020 if the global circumstances allow.

Best regards,

Philipp Kruschel
Head of the Alliance Secretariat
Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH

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Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH
Philipp Kruschel
Köthener Straße 2-3
10963 Berlin

+49 30 338 424 834