Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism
for Trade Facilitation (ROC-TF)
Regional Organizations Cooperation Mechanism or ROC-TF is a cooperation mechanism for the sub-regional, regional, UN and other international organizations involved in Trade Facilitation activities in the Asia Pacific region. The overall goal of the mechanism is to facilitate exchange of information, identify synergies and collaborate for effective implementation of Trade Facilitation initiatives. The mechanism was established following up on the explicit recommendation of the ESCAP Member States to the Secretariat in July 2011 to support the creation of a region-wide coordination mechanism, bringing together representatives of key regional organizations active in trade facilitation. As a result, ESCAP, with the support of ADB, invited relevant regional/sub-regional organizations to a Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Trade Facilitation, which was held on the side of the Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2011. This meeting was attended by representatives from the following organizations: Asian Development Bank, Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) Secretariat, Economic Cooperation Organization (ECO) Secretariat, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) Secretariat, the World Customs Organization (WCO Regional Office), the Asia-Pacific Center Council for Trade Facilitation and e-Business (AFACT), the Oceania Customs Organisation Secretariat (OCO) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).
The following recommendations were made at the Dialogue:
- Organizing Dialogue on Regional Cooperation for Trade Facilitation should be continued and consideration should be given to invitation and participation of a few more organizations.
- Identification of “official” focal points in each organization for Trade Facilitation.
- Establishment of a restricted online discussion group among Dialogue participants to facilitate sharing of information on Trade Facilitation.
- As a first step towards exchanging information, an electronic newsletter would be launched and circulated among the group every quarter.
- Sharing of names and contact of national trade facilitation focal points should be pursued to the extent possible both to facilitate implementation of individual activities as well as a way to avoid duplication and foster coordination on Trade Facilitation at national levels.
- The development of a common trade facilitation performance monitoring framework across the wider region, and based on existing frameworks, should be discussed again at future dialogues.
In 2012, most of the recommendations have been followed up and acted upon resulting in organization of the first Annual Meeting of ROC-TF, development of e-newsletter and identification of new focal points.
The First Annual Meeting of ROC-TF took take place on 29 October 2012 in Colombo, Sri Lanka, on the side of Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF) 2012. It was attended by eight international organizations working on Trade Facilitation in the Asia Pacific region, namely ADB, APEC, AFACT, ESCAP, OCO, SAARC, WCO and the World Bank.
Some of the key recommendations made at the meeting are:
- Develop a joint ROC-TF calendar for trade facilitation events.
- Continue to hold the annual ROC-TF meeting and to open it to more organizations involved in trade facilitation activities in the Asia-Pacific region.
- Publish the ROC-TF newsletter twice a year, at the end of January and July.
- Discuss capacity building needs of subregions in future ROC-TF meetings among the Donor/Technical Assistance organizations and recipient organizations.
- Aim to develop a region-wide harmonized monitoring and assessment framework for trade facilitation performance.
- The first e-newsletter for 2013 is available now and can be downloaded from the link below
- ESCAP receives three-year Guest status (2013-15) from APEC to attend Sub-Committee on Customs Procedure (SCCP) meeting