The Trade Facilitation Agreement was reached at the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference in Nairobi, Kenya, in December 2015. A total of 81 WTO members have ratified the agreement to date. This brings the organisation closer to the threshold – two-thirds of its 162 members – necessary for the agreement to enter into force. Requests for trade facilitation assistance can be forwarded either electronically or by mail to the following agencies: includes provisions for the establishment of a permanent trade facilitation committee at the WTO and the requirement for WTO members to have a national committee to facilitate national coordination and implementation of the provisions of the agreement. It also contains a number of final provisions, such as the possibility of adopting regional approaches to the implementation of the TFA. In June 2014, the WCO launched the Mercator programme to help governments around the world implement trade facilitation measures, including WTO simplification rules, using nuclear instruments and instruments such as the revised Kyoto Agreement (CRC) and tailored technical assistance. The two organizations will work together to design and implement capacity-building projects to improve the evacuation process and facilitate trade, including simplified and harmonized procedures, risk management and modern working methods. Bureaucratic delays and “bureaucracy” weigh on traders for cross-border trade. Trade facilitation – the simplification, modernization and harmonization of export and import processes – has therefore become an important issue for the global trading system.
As a result, the WCO has prepared fact sheets to help jurisdictions explain the concept of WCO and the conditions of some of the key trade facilitation measures. Indeed, the WCO has been working on these concepts for some time, particularly during the work on the revision of the Kyoto Convention. The WTO, WTO members and other intergovernmental organizations, including the World Bank, the World Customs Organization and the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), provide technical assistance to trade facilitation. In July 2014, the WTO announced the creation of a trade facilitation mechanism that helps developing countries and LDCs implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement. The facility came into force on 27 November 2014 with the adoption of the Trade Facilitation Protocol. The WCO is the world representative of the international customs community, its most active spokesperson and institutional support. The WCO represents 179 customs administrations that together handle about 98% of world trade. As a global centre of customs expertise, the WCO has the tools and expertise to support the implementation of all legal, political, procedural, technological and human aspects related to trade facilitation. Fact sheets should not be seen as additional proposals for WTO negotiations or as alternatives to WTO members` proposals. They were ready to help trade negotiators better understand some key issues. The WCO is ready to respond to requests for these concepts and concepts. Questions about WTO members` proposals should be asked of proponents of the proposals.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement aims to streamline, accelerate and coordinate trade procedures between countries and promises to reduce global trade costs and provide a significant and lasting boost to international trade, particularly in developing countries. Because the extent of the potential benefits depends on the speed and scale of implementation, the Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions to help developing countries achieve full compliance.