Trade Facilitation Agreement Members

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. 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. What is positive is that seven LDCs have already communicated their indicative deadlines, while the deadline expires in two years (February 22, 2021), sending a clear signal to donors about their commitment to implement the agreement. The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) came into force on 22 February 2017, when two-thirds of the WTO`s 164 members ratified it. The TFA – the first multilateral pact concluded by WTO members since its inception on 1 January 1995 – is an important step for the global trading system. The Alliance Instrument, the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) through a gender objective, provides practitioners and development partners with an in-depth analysis of Article i of the TFA from a gender perspective. It shows how the TFA, regardless of its so-called blind expression of gender, offers an opportunity to remove gender barriers to international trade.

[1] Note that ten developing WTO members have not yet ratified the FDFA. Since 22 February 2019, 15 notifications[3] containing information on their technical assistance programmes have been submitted, while only 8[4] of these 15 developed WTO members have notified their TACB application mechanism. These figures show that developed countries need to make additional efforts to comply with the notification in order to provide support to developing and least developed countries in the WTO. Full implementation of FTAs is estimated to reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3% and boost world trade by up to $1 trillion per year, with the highest growth in the poorest countries. For the first time in the history of the WTO, the implementation of the agreement is directly linked to the country`s ability to do so.

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