Executive Briefings

Airfreight Leaders Demand Trade Barriers Lowered

The latest communication from the Global Air Cargo Advisory Group (GACAG), a body which packs in all the heavy hitters involved in the supply chain, from forwarding agents to airlines, makes very plain the views of the air cargo industry regarding the recently stalled Doha Round of trade negotiations held under the auspices of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and specifically designed to lower trade barriers and simplify processes, particularly to allow two way market access to developing countries.

Airfreight is especially vulnerable to the vagaries of both unstable economic factors and delays caused in any way whatsoever as despite carrying around 34 percent of world trade by value, goods worth around $5tr annually, only a tiny percentage of overall tonnage is carried this way and financial and time constraints are often fundamental factors in choosing this mode of transport.

GACAG has come out very strongly in favour of a WTO agreement on trade facilitation saying initiatives which aim to ease international trade transactions by reducing border-related impediments to the flow of goods provide economic benefits to producers, consumers and others in the supply chain, and support economic growth. It goes further, however, with a thinly disguised criticism of current customs practices in many countries which see confusion and delays arising due to the opacity of the regulations in place and the imprecision and general lack of clarity for importers and exporters attempting to glean the information required for a trouble free shipment.

Michael Steen, chairman of GACAG believes that the stalled WTO negotiations offer a crucial opportunity to achieve important trade facilitation commitments on a global scale saying that, at a minimum, a WTO trade facilitation agreement should require customs authorities to provide online information about customs practices, including regulations and whenever possible to do so both in the national language(s) and in English. It also wants to see customs administrations provide binding advance rulings and independent, administrative reviews and appeals as part of more transparent, paperless and regularly modernized procedures.

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Airfreight is especially vulnerable to the vagaries of both unstable economic factors and delays caused in any way whatsoever as despite carrying around 34 percent of world trade by value, goods worth around $5tr annually, only a tiny percentage of overall tonnage is carried this way and financial and time constraints are often fundamental factors in choosing this mode of transport.

GACAG has come out very strongly in favour of a WTO agreement on trade facilitation saying initiatives which aim to ease international trade transactions by reducing border-related impediments to the flow of goods provide economic benefits to producers, consumers and others in the supply chain, and support economic growth. It goes further, however, with a thinly disguised criticism of current customs practices in many countries which see confusion and delays arising due to the opacity of the regulations in place and the imprecision and general lack of clarity for importers and exporters attempting to glean the information required for a trouble free shipment.

Michael Steen, chairman of GACAG believes that the stalled WTO negotiations offer a crucial opportunity to achieve important trade facilitation commitments on a global scale saying that, at a minimum, a WTO trade facilitation agreement should require customs authorities to provide online information about customs practices, including regulations and whenever possible to do so both in the national language(s) and in English. It also wants to see customs administrations provide binding advance rulings and independent, administrative reviews and appeals as part of more transparent, paperless and regularly modernized procedures.

Read Full Article