WTO reports further progress on Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation

According to an update from the World Trade organization (WTO), the current rate of implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) commitments stood at 70.1 per cent for the entire WTO membership as of April 22.

Broken down by level of development, the current rate of implementation commitments equates to a 100 per cent rate of implementation by developed members and 61 per cent among developing members and least developed countries (LDCs).

Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.

The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so.

Full implementation of the Agreement, which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, is forecast to slash members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing and least-developed countries having the most to gain, according to a 2015 study carried out by WTO economists. The TFA is also likely to reduce the time needed to import goods by over a day and a half and to export goods by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average.

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