A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) was signed between the Asian Development Bank (ADB) and the World Customs Organization (WCO) aimed at strengthening their joint efforts to enhance trade in the Asia-Pacific Region. Focusing on regional programmes promoting development-oriented trade and investments, the MOU was signed during ADB´s 43rd Annual Meeting by ADB President Haruhiko Kuroda and WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya.
The agreement is expected to give new dynamism to an already existing strategic partnership through cooperation schemes that include customs modernization, capacity building, information and knowledge sharing, joint publications of research and analysis on topics of regional relevance, staff cooperation, etc. According to Mr. Kuroda, “Under the MOU, ADB's infrastructure finance and regional cooperation programs and WCO's technical Customs competency will complement each other and improve the efficiency of our efforts to facilitate trade”.
For its part, the WCO seeks to substantially lower the costs of cross-border trade in Asia by stimulating more efficient customs practices. The ADB is actively trying to develop more integrated international trade supply chains in the region, boosting both intra and inter-industrial trade. Through coordinated efforts on these two fronts it is hoped to help local and international companies in the region grow, expanding their investment, generating more economic growth and development for Asia´s countries, and creating more jobs.
These two institutions have been working closely together on transport and trade facilitation in Asia for almost a decade now. The participation of the WCO in different regional cooperation programmes and initiatives has proved extremely fruitful and mutually beneficial, particularly in the cases of the Central Asia Regional Economic Cooperation (CAREC) and the Greater Mekong Subregion (GMS) programmes.