Trade facilitation has an important role to play in the overall trade performance of any country, said Mauritius infrastructure minister Anil Bachoo.

Delivering his keynote address at a regional trade event, the minister added “trade facilitation is a key determinant for a country’s competitiveness strategy, and could be a formidable avenue for cooperation.”

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Business and Trade Facilitation Workshop started yesterday, August 04, 2014 at the Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène, with more than 30 delegates from 20 IORA Member States.

Organized jointly by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Regional Integration and International Trade as well as the IORA Secretariat, this two-day workshop aims at bringing together business people to interact with government officials in their role as facilitators.

Furthermore, this platform is designed to address barriers and bottlenecks relating to business and trade facilitation in the IORA region.

Anil Bachoo went on to add that, according to estimates, the trade facilitation measures agreed upon during the 2013 World Trade Organisation (WTO) Conference in Bali could cut the cost of shipping goods around the world by more than 10%.

This is expected to raise global output by over USD 400 billion a year and increase 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 increased considerably over the past decade, outpacing global investment,” said Anil Bachoo.

He also pointed out that 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.

Finally, he concluded that the government, as an enabler and facilitator, has a fundamental role to play in establishing the right rules for business to operate and flourish.

The IORA region:

The IORA region, with a population of around 2 billion, constitutes a significant market, representing 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 with the IORA region’s GDP 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.

Image (ASPI/ File Photo Nov 2013): A two-day Business and Trade Facilitation Workshop by the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) started yesterday, August 04, 2014 at the Hennessy Park Hotel, in Ebène, with more than 30 delegates from 20 IORA Member States.

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