The International Air Transport Association (IATA) and the International Federation of Freight Forwarders Associations (FIATA) have released a joint position paper calling for states to ratify the Montreal Convention 1999 (MC99) treaty to promote trade facilitation.
At the World Trade Organisation talks in Bali, 3-6 December, states have been urged to take steps to stimulate greater world trade, in order to promote growth in the global economy. For those states who have not yet done so, the ratification of MC99 would be an important step in helping improve the speed, security and efficiency of air cargo. MC99 provides the legal framework for the use of electronic data as a record of carriage in place of paper documents, thus paving the way for freight
forwarders and airlines to use the electronic Air Waybill and other e-freight documents such as the electronic Cargo Security Declaration.
Today over 33 per cent of global trade lanes have fully electronic customs procedures. However, wider adoption of e-freight cannot take place while some 88 states, mainly in Southeast Asia and Africa,have yet to ratify MC99. The importance of this issue to governments was emphasised at the 38th International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Assembly in September-October, where states passed a resolution urging all remaining states to ratify MC99.
Stanley H. H. Lim, the immediate past president of FIATA said: “Air cargo is an essential motor of the global economy with some 35 per cent of world trade by value going by air. But air cargo efficiency is hampered by the need to process up to 30 paper documents for each shipment. This is economically and environmentally wasteful. MC99 facilitates international paperless shipments by air and it is vital that governments that have not yet ratified the treaty do so as quickly as possible.”
Des Vertannes, IATA’s global head of cargo, said: “This joint position paper shows that FIATA and IATA are united in our desire to push forward with the e-freight agenda.US $6.4 trillion of world trade is carried by air and the successful implementation of electronic data messaging across all trade lanes would dramatically increase the safety, security, efficiency and speed of air cargo shipments. With the global round of trade talks going through a challenging phase, Governments across the world are looking for ‘quick wins’ to enhance world trade, and ratification of MC99 offers them that opportunity.”
The position paper can be accessed at: www.fiata.com/index.php?id=571 or www.iata.org/policy/Pages/mc99.aspx