According to estimates for the first two of years of its implementation the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) led to a US$ 231 billion increase in trade, particularly in agriculture.
The estimates find developing members and least-developed country (LDC) members that have made commitments under the landmark agreement posted the most gains.
Based on estimates for the years 2017-2019, WTO economists attribute to the TFA an average 5% increase in global agricultural trade, 1.5% in manufacturing trade and 1.17% in total trade.
The increases are largely driven by the trade growth in LDCs, where agricultural exports rose by 17%, manufacturing exports by 3.1%, and total exports by 2.4% under the TFA.
The estimates further point to a 16-22% increase in agricultural trade between developing members that have made TFA commitments. These estimates are conservative, as large gains have already been realized, particularly in manufacturing, in anticipation of the Agreement’s entry into force and by developed members making full commitments since the start of the TFA’s entry into force, as noted in previous studies.
In 2015, the WTO forecast that complete implementation of the TFA could lead to an increase of up to 2.73% in global trade flows by 2030. The latest estimates note that as the benefits of the Agreement continue to be realized, the trade and welfare gains are likely to expand. Stronger increases for manufacturing trade may still be detected after more years of TFA implementation for developing members as well.