Trade Facilitation Agreement Overview

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. This measure governs the means by which an operator can obtain reliable “binding” information on customs classification, origin or other customs treatment of goods before introducing them. For a detailed overview of the OECD`s work on trade facilitation, you can use the OECD iLibrary to read our latest research on trade facilitation and the global economy. Ratify – the sooner the better: the developing countries that will ratify the agreement in the coming months (and hopefully not years) have already missed some critical deadlines that will prevent them from using as much as possible the specific and differentiated provisions for the treatment of ADTs. Based on transnational data from the World Bank`s Global Enterprise Survey (WBES), this paper, together with the OECD Trade by Enterprise Characteristics (TEC), examines the relationship between the trade facilitation environment – measured by OECD trade facilitation indicators (IFT) – and various measures of international SME engagement. In 2013, members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) concluded negotiations on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, which establishes multilateral rules to address procedural barriers to facilitate trade procedures. The TFA came into force in 2017 and is an important opportunity for countries to take advantage of the economic benefits of improving the speed and effectiveness of border procedures. 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). The TFA aims to expedite trade procedures, including the transfer, release and release of goods.

Its full implementation could boost global trade by $1 trillion per year and reduce trade costs by 14.3% for low-income countries and more than 13% for middle-income countries. The DSC establishes a number of transparency obligations with respect to the substantive provisions of the agreement with respect to (i) online descriptions of business procedures; (ii) contact points to answer questions; (iii) the operation of insulated windows; (iv) the use of customs officers; and v) contact points for the exchange of customs information. In addition, it is essential to facilitate trade for perishable agricultural products and high-tech manufacturing components, both of which are highly sensitive to delays. Trade facilitation is increasingly important in the digital age, not less so. The growing number of packages crossing international borders is increasing both demand and new challenges for trade facilitation. Traders in developing and industrialized countries have long stressed the enormous “administrative burden” that still weighs on the cross-border transfer of goods and which is a particular burden for small and medium-sized enterprises. The TFA contains provisions to expedite the transfer, release and release of goods, including goods in transit. Measures are also planned for effective cooperation between customs and other relevant authorities on trade facilitation and tariff compliance.