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Lusaka, Wednesday 15 March 2017: COMESA has signed a Memorandum of Understanding with the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) to improve the management of trade logistics in the region.

Under the MoU, the two organizations will optimize their respective strengths to facilitate trade and improve the supply chains and delivery and management of goods and services through more efficient, safer and sustainable logistics.

The Senior Vice President of FIATA Mr Basil Pieterson singed on behalf of FIATA President His Excellency Zhao Huxiang while Secretary General Sindiso Ngwenya signed for COMESA.

“The focus of this cooperation will be on work programs that will identify priorities and define actions for the joint implementation of projects and activities of common interest,” Mr. Ngwenya said. He said this will be achieved by arranging necessary logistical and coordinating mechanisms and creating procedures for periodic review of the applicable implementation arrangements of projects.

The areas of collaboration stipulated in the MOU include; FIATA’s support to the efforts of COMESA’s Free Trade Area implementation as well as the negotiations for the Continental Free Trade Area within the field of freight and logistics services. FIATA will provide input on key policy items through the African Association members.

Further, FIATA will assist in developing the Regional Logistics Harmonized Standards in particular the border crossing procedures in COMESA. The two organizations will engage in information sharing and promotion of new joint initiatives to raise awareness to the public and private stakeholders on issues related to trade logistics.

It was also agreed that FIATA would make recommendations to COMESA on key investments pertaining to the improvement of the free flow of goods and services, development of infrastructure projects and promoting trade facilitation in specific COMESA countries.

“The signing of the MoU is the right step in creating borderless economies needed to support a single market,” Mr Pieterson said.

FIATA is a non-governmental organization representing the freight forwarding and logistics service providers’ industry covering approximately 40,000 forwarding and logistics firms. It employees around eight to ten million people in over 150 countries.