Wto Trade Facilitation Agreement Members

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. 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. Under the special and differentiated treatment provisions, the TFA provides developing countries and LDCs with additional time during which both groups of countries are exempt from the application of the dispute settlement agreement (Article 20). Given the stages of development, the Agreement provides for shorter periods for developing countries and longer periods of time and greater flexibility for least developed countries. Chart 4 summarizes the communication on the above points, which was received on 20 February 2019 by developed, developing and least developed WTO members. In addition, both developing and least developed countries had to provide the WTO with information on contact points for the coordination of these TACBs (Article 22.3). Since 22 February 2019, only five developing countries have met this commitment. This low compliance makes it difficult for development partners to coordinate aid and the willingness of these countries to carry out ambitious trade facilitation projects. Only 85 of the WTO`s 125 developing and least developed members reported the three categories (64 developing countries and 21 least developed countries). Eleven members (three developing countries and eight LDCs) were not appointed.

Category A: provisions that developing WTO member countries had to implement by 22 February 2017, when they came into force (least developed countries had to implement them by 22 February 2018). Section II of the agreement contains innovative special and differentiated treatment provisions that link implementation by developing countries and LDCs to the acquisition of the ability to implement the agreement for the first time in WTO history (see box). Section III contains institutional and final provisions on relations with other WTO agreements, the post-entry membership process of the agreement, the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee and the national trade facilitation committees to be set up in all WTO member states.

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