Volume 12 (2017) / Issue 5
The application of the World Customs Organisation Immediate Release Guidelines (WCO IRG) is pivotal for the expedited movement of goods across borders and the facilitation of trade. Nonetheless, there is no universal application of the Guidelines globally and therefore an uneven standard of trade facilitation exists. With the forthcoming ratification of the Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) an opportunity exists for countries and regions alike to not only improve the application of WCO IRG in order to prepare for the TFA, but to stimulate economic growth. Both of these goals mirror aspirations of the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) region in a bid to secure EU membership for its members. With the recent implementation of the Union Customs Code and the ratification of the TFA, CEFTA members need to focus on the continuous improvement of customs procedures and processes in order to not only grow economically but maintain a similar standard to their EU counterparts. Using data collected by DHL Express, this article analyses the application of the WCO Immediate Release Guidelines in the CEFTA region. The article is successful in highlighting both areas of strengths and weaknesses for the average CEFTA application in twelve key domains in comparison to the WCO Ideal, the EU and the rest of the world. Through vast experience of the Express Industry the authors are able to suggest achievable methods in order to improve some of these areas of weakness.
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