20 February, 2018: Ms. Kathy-Ann Matthews, Comptroller (Ag.) at the Customs and Excise Division is the new Co-Chair of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) of Trinidad and Tobago effective February 20, 2018. She joins Mr. Norris Herbert, Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Trade and Industry as Co-Chair.

The NTFC was established in, 2016 in accordance with Article 23.2 of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA). This Article requires each WTO Member to establish and/or maintain a national committee on trade facilitation or designate an existing mechanism to facilitate both domestic co-ordination and implementation of the Agreement. The TFA is the first multilateral agreement to be completed out of the protracted Doha Development Round (ongoing since 2001). It provides a series of global measures for expediting the movement, clearance and release of goods.

Since its inauguration, the NTFC has had some notable achievements including the Development of a Trade Facilitation Roadmap, Categorizations and Timeframes for provisions of the TFA that Trinidad and Tobago will implement over a period of time (Category B commitments) and those to be implemented after receipt of technical assistance (Category C commitments) and the Development of a National Implementation Plan for the TFA. As a result of the NTFC’s deliberations, Trinidad & Tobago notified the WTO of its Category B and C commitments with indicative timeframes for implementation on November 24, 2017.

The Committee, in support of these efforts and under the guidance of its Co-Chairs, will secure donor funding, technical assistance and capacity building for priority projects as outlined in the National Implementation Plan.