Remarks by Martina Boustani
U.S. Embassy Dakar Deputy Chief of Mission
End of Trade facilitation project under Trade Africa
Octobre 30, 2018, Dakar
Minister of Commerce of the Informal Sector, Consumer Affairs and SMEs,
Mr. Director General of Customs,
Mr. Secretary General of the Ministry and President of the Trade Africa Committee
Ladies and Gentlemen,
Private Sector Representatives,
As we all know, bureaucratic delays and “red tape” can impede economic growth and pose a burden for traders moving goods across borders. Trade facilitation — or the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes—is an important foundation for Senegal as it works to improve its trade potential.
In 2016, after Senegal became a signatory to the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, the United States, through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), began a partnership to meet some of the challenges associated with compliance with the agreement.
Allow me to note just a few of the accomplishments of our partnership.
Together, we have increased the availability of information to trade actors, and improved transparency of transaction costs and speed of operations. These are important competitiveness factors to companies and private operators.
We have helped reduce the costs of doing business, promoting the participation of small and medium-sized domestic companies in the global market, and ultimately stimulating economic growth through the creation of the Trade Information Portal.
We have implemented simple, transparent, equitable and less expensive import and export transit procedures, generating economic gains and opportunities while also ensuring the security of cross-border commercial actors.
And we have helped build the Customs Department’s capacity to conduct post-clearance audits, building trust between the department and trade operators.
The World Trade Organization expects that Trade Facilitation Agreement reforms could boost the economic growth of countries like Senegal by increasing exports by 3.5 percent every year, increasing economic output by 0.9 percent a year and expanding and diversifying exports by almost 20 percent.
Small and medium-sized businesses in Senegal will see their competitiveness increase due to the speed of delivery times. This efficiency will provide cheaper and faster access to global value chains.
On behalf of the United States Government, I would like to congratulate the Trade Africa Steering Committee, which includes the Senegalese Customs under the leadership of the Ministry of Commerce, for the remarkable work they have done.
In achieving these milestones, Senegal has a stronger foundation to overcome obstacles and improve its business climate.
This should result in deeper regional economic integration, helping Senegal reach its full potential. It should help ensure the private sector — not donors or government agencies — will be the ultimate driver and sustainer of Senegal’s development. And it should help attract investment, resulting in more employment, with better incomes, moving Senegal ahead on its journey toward prosperity.
Thank you for your kind attention.