In the UK, SITPRO is the champion of trade facilitation, but when it comes to European developments the voice of just one nation is not enough. Therefore, trade facilitation bodies around Europe come together under the EUROPRO umbrella to add weight to what they can do independently to influence policy development and implementation in Brussels.
EUROPRO works closely with other European business organisations to coordinate activity and ensure that the views of the trade are heard in international trade discussions in Europe. Recent debates about the Modernised Customs Code and its Implementing Provisions (see page 1) have galvanised the national trade facilitation organisations, and a number of other invited like minded organisations, to become increasingly active as part of EUROPRO.
At its meeting in November were representatives from France, Norway, Finland, Germany, Croatia, Iceland, EFTA, Sweden and the UK. Indeed, EUROPRO now has members in 20 countries around Europe. There has been continuous contact between members of the network at a virtual level in recent years, but due to the heightened level of interest in and importance of EUROPRO the way the organisation works is changing. The frequency of meetings is increasing significantly and EUROPRO’s mission statement and terms of reference are being updated.
The UK and Sweden continue to play a prominent role in EUROPRO. At its last meeting its long standing and well known chair, Christina Rahlen, stood down following her retirement from SWEPRO and the Swedish Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Her replacement as EUROPRO chair is expected to be elected at the next meeting in March.
SITPRO continues as Secretary to the group providing it with direct access to the European Commission through the Trade Contact Group (TCG), as well as the Electronic Customs Group (ECG) and Customs Code Committee sub-groups.
Further information about EUROPRO activities will appear in future editions of SITPRO News, including a report on the March meeting in the next issue.