On January 28, the World Trade Organization (WTO) and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) announced the launch of a new partnership to provide joint assistance to member countries in fulfilling their notification requirements for the WTO Integrated Database (IDB) in an efficient and timely manner.
The WTO’s IDB contains data that member governments supply annually on the tariffs they apply normally under the most-favoured nation (MFN) basis. Data on lower preferential duties under free trade agreements or preferential schemes for developing countries are available for some members, as well as annual import statistics by country of origin.
The UNCTAD, through its Customs automation facility (ASYCUDA) indicates that it will work with the WTO to provide interested governments with “specially developed electronic functions, allowing for easy extraction of properly structured data and its automatic forwarding” to the WTO IDB in addition to “technical assistance and related capacity building in extraction of national trade data and its transmission to the WTO in an agreed standard format.”
The joint partnership is aims to assist developing countries facing institutional, technical and human capacity limitations in meeting their WTO data sharing obligations.