Brussels 13 February 2020/ACP/:The second Knowledge-Sharing Event on Trade and Investment Good Practices was organised by the TradeCom II PMU from 4-5 February 2020. Its objective was to disseminate, as widely as possible, the relevant “good practices” developed by TCII-supported programmes, under the Programme Estimate 2, the Rapid Response Facility (RRF), and the Grant Component. The Knowledge-Sharing Event was attended by a total of 110 participants, primarily from ACP beneficiary countries and Regional Economic Communities (RECs).

In his opening keynote address, H.E. Dr. Patrick I. Gomes (Secretary-General of the ACP Group) emphasised the ACP Secretariat’s role in building and sharing knowledge through the TradeCom II Programme. Uncertainties in the multilateral trade system require sound knowledge and stronger capacities to innovate and enhance knowledge on global trade issues and to tackle the difficulties emerging from demographic dividends, such as young people who leave their countries in search of better opportunities. This calls for the reinforcement of the production and trading capacities of ACP countries, to also benefit the youth.

Ms. Carla Montesi, Director at EC DEVCO (Dir. C – Planet and Prosperity), highlighted the constructive approach to the event and considered it to be an opportunity to identify good practices that can be scaled up and analysed, in terms of their impact on trade.

Five clusters of “good practices” were proposed for the second round of knowledge sharing, from the 16 programmes implemented by the Programme Estimate 2 component of the TradeCom II Programme, 52 RRF Projects, and the 7 actions of the Grant Component. These examples of good practices were centred around the following targeted clusters:

-Trade Policy and Regulation;

-The EPA and WTO Processes;

-Customs Matters;

-Quality Infrastructure and Standards; and

-Trade and Investment (the European Investment Plan; Private sector competitiveness).

Under Cluster 1 “Trade Policy and Regulation”, representatives from DG TRADE and beneficiaries such as the West African Economic and Monetary Union (WAEMU), the Organisation of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS), the Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa (COMESA), and Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA) considered the successes of national and regional trade policies in sustaining trade expansion and overcoming trade obstacles, and deliberated on replicable good practices and new needs/challenges going forward.

Under Cluster 2, “The EPA and WTO Processes”, representatives from DG TRADE, Cameroon, the CARICOM Regional Organisation for Standards and Quality (CROSQ), Côte d’Ivoire, Comoros, Djibouti, and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (UNECA) demonstrated EPA implementation good practices and lessons learnt that can be disseminated at national and regional levels, and reported on the progress made in reaching common negotiation positions at the WTO.

Under Cluster 3 “Customs Matters”, there were contributions from beneficiaries from Kenya and the Solomon Islands, as well as representatives from DG Trade, Fondazione Accademia Italiana della Marina Mercantile (FAIMM), and UNECA focussing on the demonstrable successes of greater efficiency and reduced transaction costs, associated with the movement of goods across borders, as well as replicable examples of good practices. New needs going forward were also identified.

Under Cluster 4, there was a focus on demonstrable regional and national quality infrastructure good practices that support export competitiveness. Examples were presented by representatives from CROSQ, the African Organisation for Standardisation (ARSO), the Organisation Africaine de la Propriété Intellectuelle (the African Intellectual Property Organisation, or OAPI) and beneficiaries such as Mozambique, Guyana, and Mauritania.

Under Cluster 5 “Trade and Competitiveness”, presentations were made by representatives from the European Commission, the ACP Secretariat, Papua New Guinea, DG Trade, Regional Multidisciplinary Centre of Excellence (RMCE), the Global Shea Alliance (GSA), Mauritius, Botswana, Zimbabwe, Research on Poverty Alleviation (REPOA), and the Trade Policy Training Centre in Africa(TRAPCA). These presentations focused on the European External Investment Plan (EIP) as a tool to contribute to sustainable development, improve the investment climate, tackle the root causes of migration, encourage private investment, and focus on jobs and growth. The aim of the EIP is to go beyond traditional development assistance and, rather, use financial resources to influence other available financial streams to achieve the SDGs.

During this session, discussions also focused on innovative approaches for supporting private sector competitiveness, identifying good practices, and measuring their success thus far, as well as new needs going forward.

The two-day seminar ended with a presentation by the TCII Team Leader, Ahmed Ndyeshobola, on recommendations for the way forward for the TCII Programme, and with statements from Antti Karhunen, Head of Unit, Private Sector Development, Trade and Regional Integration at the European Commission, and Viwanou Gnassounou, Assistant Secretary-General, Department of Sustainable Economic Development and Trade.

The event was considered by all participants to have been a great success in terms of participation, the quality of discussions, and the demonstration of good practices from the national and regional programmes supported by the TCII Programme.