The WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement has the potential to reduce the costs of trading goods by 10 per cent for OECD countries, and up to 14 per cent for low-income countries, the Assistant Minister for Trade, Tourism and Investment, the Hon Keith Pitt MP, said today.

Assistant Minister Pitt made the comment during his keynote address to the ‘Trade Facilitation Reform: A Business and Government Partnership' conference held in Sydney on 13-14 December 2016.

The conference provided a forum for businesses and governments from the Indo-Pacific to connect and explore new ways to work together to lower trade costs, and encourage implementation of the Agreement.

Assistant Minister Pitt highlighted the potential benefits from the Agreement, including for Australian farmers, businesses and consumers, and how implementation of the Agreement could help boost global trade and economic growth.

"Enhancing the efficiency of customs and border procedures can lower costs for businesses, consumers and governments," Mr Pitt said.

"This is particularly important for Australian farmers and agricultural exporters – where it is essential for perishable goods to be processed quickly and effectively."

"The conference provided the opportunity for Australian businesses to engage with other businesses and governments from our region and exchange insights on ‘best practice' approaches to facilitate trade."

"The conference demonstrated how development and trade objectives can come together. It contributed to strengthening participants' knowledge of trade facilitation, and laid the foundations for future partnerships between business and government to facilitate trade and economic growth," Mr Pitt said.

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation hosted the conference. The Global Alliance is a public-private initiative designed to help developing countries reduce trade costs. The conference included participants from Australia, the Pacific, South-East Asia and Africa.

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