Trade facilitation agreement
On February 22, the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) ushered in the 5th anniversary of its official entry into force. WTO Director-General Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala said that over the past five years, WTO members have made steady progress in implementing the landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement, which will help Strengthening the resilience of global supply chains, global trade flows are ready for a post-COVID-19 economic recovery.
Trade facilitation, that is, the promotion of imports and exports through simplification of procedures and formalities, harmonization of applicable laws and regulations, standardization and improvement of infrastructure, etc., is an important issue in the world trading system.
WTO members concluded negotiations on the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, which entered into force on 22 February 2017 after being ratified by two-thirds of WTO members. The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, as well as measures for effective cooperation between customs and other relevant authorities on issues of trade facilitation and customs compliance.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement specifically established provisions to assist developing countries and LDCs in accessing technical assistance and capacity-building. According to the Trade Facilitation Agreement, from the date of entry into force of the Agreement, developed country members must implement all the provisions of the agreement, while developing country and least developed country members can determine the implementation timetable according to their actual conditions and seek to Relevant assistance and support to gain implementation capacity. This is the first WTO agreement to include such a clause.
As of December 2021, 154 of the 162 WTO members have ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement. According to the requirements of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, each member is required to notify the WTO of the release of information on import, export and transit procedures, the operational details of the single window, the use of customs brokers, and the details of customs information exchange contact points. Trade Facilitation Committee. As of February 22, 2022, the notifications submitted by members indicated that 74.3% of the TFA obligations had been committed. The WTO Committee on Trade Facilitation conducted its first assessment of members' implementation of the agreement from February 22, 2017 to October 31, 2021. The evaluation report indicated that human resources and training, assistance with the revision or implementation of laws and regulations, and the development of information and communication technologies were the most frequent requests for technical assistance and capacity-building from developing countries and LDCs.