GIS – August 4, 2014: Trade Facilitation has an important role to play in the overall trade performance of any country and is a key determinant in a country’s competitiveness strategy, and could be a formidable avenue for cooperation, said the Vice-Prime Minister, Minister of Public Infrastructure, National Development Unit, Land Transport and Shipping, and Minister-in-Charge of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, Mr Anil Kumar Bachoo, this morning at Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène.
The Vice-Prime Minister was delivering the keynote address at the opening of the IORA (Indian Ocean Rim Association) Business and Trade Facilitation Workshop, organised jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade, and the IORA Secretariat. Bringing together business people to interact with government officials in their role as facilitators, the two-day workshop is designed to address barriers and bottlenecks relating to business and trade facilitation in the IOR region. More than thirty delegates from 20 IORA Member States are participating.
In his address, VPM Bachoo said that according to estimates, the trade facilitation measures agreed during the 2013 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference in Bali could cut the cost of shipping goods around the world by more than 10%, raising global output by over USD 400 billion a year and increasing trade by over a trillion dollars. The implementation of the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement is expected to further remove impediments to trade, eliminate cumbersome non-tariff barriers and bring down trade costs, which are quite high for developing countries, he pointed out.
IORA Member States are favourable investment destinations and foreign direct investment in the IORA region has over the past decade increased considerably outpacing global investment, said the VPM. Many countries within the IORA region have set up specialised investment promotion agencies and chambers of commerce to promote and facilitate inflows of foreign investment, while serving also as a one-stop-shop for investment-related activities, he observed. Government, as an enabler and facilitator, has a fundamental role to play in establishing the right rules for business to operate and flourish, added Mr Bachoo.
The IORA region
The IORA region, with a population of around 2 billion, constitutes a significant market. It represents 11.6% of global trade and 13.2% of global foreign direct investment inflows. Trade amongst the IORA countries amounts to 24% of global trade. The IORA region’s GDP is expected to reach USD 9 trillion in 2016.
Members States of the IORA are: Australia, Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Iran, Kenya, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Oman, Seychelles, Singapore, South Africa, Sri Lanka, Tanzania, Thailand, the United Arab Emirates, Yemen and Comoros.
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