WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement enters into force
Updated on : 07-03-2017
The ratification of 4 countries, namely Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 22nd February 2017 brings total ratified members of the agreement to 113 countries or over the required number to enable the agreement to enter into force. The entry into force of this agreement will help to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms all over the world and creates a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole.
Director General of the World Trade Organization, Mr. Roberto Azevêdo welcomed the TFA's entry into force that “This is fantastic news for at least two reasons. First, it shows members' commitment to the multilateral trading system and that they are following through on the promises made in Bali. Second, it means we can now start implementing the Agreement, helping to cut trade costs around the world. It also means we can kick start technical assistance work to help poorer countries with implementation.”
For the implementation of this agreement, developed countries have committed to immediately implement the Agreement, which sets out a broad series of trade facilitation reforms. Spread out over 12 articles, the TFA prescribes many measures to improve transparency and predictability of trading across borders and to create a less discriminatory business environment. The TFA's provisions include improvements to the availability and publication of information about cross-border procedures and practices, improved appeal rights for traders, reduced fees and formalities connected with the import/export of goods, faster clearance procedures and enhanced conditions for freedom of transit for goods. The Agreement also contains measures for effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.
Developing countries, in comparison, will immediately apply only the TFA provisions they have designated as “Category A” commitments. For the other provisions of the Agreement, they must indicate when these will be implemented and what capacity building support is needed to help them implement these provisions, known as Category B and C commitments. These can be implemented at a later date with least-developed countries (including Lao PDR) given more time to notify these commitments. So far, notifications of Category A commitments have already been provided by 90 WTO members.
Source: World Trade Organization