Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded negotiations of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in 2013 aimed at “expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.”
The agreement contains provisions for countries’ customs authorities to cooperate, to streamline and automate the processing of goods at the ports and to make information on customs procedures easily available to traders. The agreement required two-thirds of the WTO membership to ratify in their domestic process – and this week, four countries notified the WTO of their ratifications, thus immediately activating the agreement in the countries that have ratified.* Economic studies predict the agreement will cut trading costs by an average of 14.3 percent and over $1 trillion of additional trade could take place. Although least developed countries will be given additional time to improve customs processing, traders should soon see improvements moving material through customs. Of course, if there are any problems or you do not see any changes, please contact Senior Director of International Relations Adina Renee Adler.
*Albania, Australia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Belize, Botswana, Brazil, Brunei, Cambodia, Canada, Chad, Chile, China, Chinese Taipei, Côte d’Ivoire, Dominica, European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), El Salvador, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Gabon, Georgia, Ghana, Grenada, Guyana, Honduras, Hong Kong China, Iceland, India, Jamaica, Japan, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kyrgyz Republic, Lao PDR, Lesotho, Liechtenstein, Macao China, Madagascar, Malaysia, Mali, Mauritius, Mexico, Mongolia, Montenegro, Mozambique, Myanmar, Nepal, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Nigeria, Norway, Oman, Pakistan, Panama, Paraguay, Peru, Philippines, Republic of Korea, Republic of Moldova, Russian Federation, Rwanda, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Samoa, Saudi Arabia, Seychelles, Singapore, Sri Lanka, Swaziland, Switzerland, Thailand, Togo, Trinidad and Tobago, Turkey, Ukraine, United Arab Emirates, United States, Vietnam, Zambia