The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement: Reducing Bureaucracy at the Border

03-06-2015

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was the principal outcome of the World Trade Organization's Ninth Ministerial Conference, held in December 2013. The TFA, part of the wider 'Bali package', covers issues including advanced rulings, transparency, goods in transit, specific issues responding to the concerns of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and simplifying customs formalities. The agreement represents a significant breakthrough, as it is the first multilateral agreement concluded by the WTO since the organisation was established in 1995, and could be a first step towards concluding the stalled Doha Round of negotiations. Its improved customs procedures have the potential to add approximately EUR 60 billion a year to global GDP. The EU has pledged more than EUR 400 million in assistance, to be disbursed over a period of five years, to help developing and least developed countries with the necessary adjustments.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) was the principal outcome of the World Trade Organization's Ninth Ministerial Conference, held in December 2013. The TFA, part of the wider 'Bali package', covers issues including advanced rulings, transparency, goods in transit, specific issues responding to the concerns of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and simplifying customs formalities. The agreement represents a significant breakthrough, as it is the first multilateral agreement concluded by the WTO since the organisation was established in 1995, and could be a first step towards concluding the stalled Doha Round of negotiations. Its improved customs procedures have the potential to add approximately EUR 60 billion a year to global GDP. The EU has pledged more than EUR 400 million in assistance, to be disbursed over a period of five years, to help developing and least developed countries with the necessary adjustments.