Article 2.2: Consultations
What is covered?
Scope and objective
The Members are required to take all the necessary steps, as appropriate to the context of each country, to set up mechanisms for regular consultations between the border agencies, traders and other stakeholders within the territory of the country.
Article 2.2 constitutes a mandatory provision for Members. However, the expression “as appropriate” in the measure grants them flexibility on the methods of implementation, which should be aligned to the country’s context and appropriateness of the same within the overall framework of trade facilitation. the term “as appropriate” not only provides flexibility on the methodology, but also on the frequency, scope of the consultations, the objectives, the stakeholders invited to be part of these consultations, etc.
The reference to “other stakeholders” may include to a wide variety of interested parties including – but not limited to – SMEs, traders, freight forwarders, authorized operators, business membership organizations, associations of traders, academics, professionals and the civil society. Likewise, the reference to “border agencies” includes all government body involved in the control or procedures related to cross-border trade. Customs is clearly part of this group but the health and food safety authorities, among others, compose it.
What is not covered?
Specific issues that should be the subject of the consultations are not mentioned in the Measure.
The practical means and ways of organizing these consultative meetings are not mentioned in the Measure, hence countries are left free to select any means/channels of consultations, as appropriate to their unique context.
Furthermore, even the exact frequency with which consultations shall be held is not mandatorily prescribed. There is not one-size-fits-all solution. Consultation can take place daily, weekly, monthly, annually, etc. The interval between the consultations will be determined on a case-by-case basis according to the need of a given country.
The Measure does not also require the adoption of any specific legislation for its implementation. This obligation can be achieved through an established practice, or through/within the NTFC.
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