WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement takes affect

Posted on: 15/03/2017

Calling it the “biggest reform of global trade in a generation”, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo announced that the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) is now a reality. The news came after the TFA surpassed the minimum requirement of 110 members with112 WTO members approving the new global trade recently.

Azevêdo said the agreement would boost global trade by up to $1 trillion a year.

The focus will now shift from the ratification process to the crucial implementation process. The landmark TFA decision is designed to cut customs red tape, ease the flow of trade between countries by streamlining customs procedures, speed up the clearance of goods and support cooperation among customs officials.

The WTO now numbers 164 members. The most recent ratifications of the TFA included Chad, Jordan, Oman and Rwanda. The new TFA “sends a message about the power of trade to support jobs and growth around the world—in developed and developing countries alike,” added Azevêdo. The TFA agreement involves countries agreeing to a long list of reforms, including easier access for businesses to information, reduced fees and simpler and faster procedures. WTO economists estimate it would cut the cost of trading by 14.3%, and that developing nations would gain the most. 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. 

Read More WTO members review further proposals to ease global trade in services 

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