WTO Members Approve Trade Facilitation Agreement

A World Trade Organization (WTO) agreement  which aims to support simpler and clearer procedures when it comes to imports and exports of goods came into force  after the requisite amount of member countries agreed to implement it.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (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.

In terms of time gains, the aim of the TFA is to reduce the time needed to import goods by over a day and a half and to export goods by almost two days, representing reductions of 47% and 91% respectively over current averages.

Developed countries have committed to immediately implement the agreement. Developing countries, in comparison, will immediately apply only the TFA provisions they have designated as Category A commitments.  For the other provisions, 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.

WTO director general, Roberto Azevëdo described the agreement as the biggest reform of global trade this century.

According to the global trade body, its impact would be greater than the elimination of all existing tariffs around the world.

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The source: Automative Logistics