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FACT SHEET: WTO Members Take Important Steps Towards Entry Into Force of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Nairobi, Kenya - The United States welcomes the progress made leading up to, and during, the 10th Ministerial Conference by Members towards entry into force and implementation of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

Six new acceptances were received in Nairobi, including from two least-developed countries (LDCs), thereby bringing the total to 63 WTO members who have ratified the TFA, with others expected shortly.  The diversity of Members who have submitted these 63 acceptances demonstrates the global interest in this agreement.  The 63 acceptances come from Members representing every region of the world – 28 of whom are developing countries, including five LDCs.

Further, during the Ministerial Conference, the United States was pleased to announce additional funding to help developing countries implement the TFA through its new and unique multi-donor partnership with the private sector, the Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation (GATF). 

To fulfill their commitment in the TFA to help developing countries and LDCs implement the agreement, the United States, together with Australia, Canada, Germany and the United Kingdom, pursued a ground breaking new approach to trade assistance that will drive economic growth and eliminate trade barriers.  The GATF brings together donor countries, global businesses, and international institutions, such as the World Economic Forum, the International Chamber of Commerce and the Center for International Private Enterprise, to help developing countries implement TFA reforms.  The United States has mobilized $50 million for the initiative over five years.  Based on contributions identified so far, the GATF is the largest pool of resources dedicated to TFA implementation.  Further information can be found about the GATF at: www.tradefacilitation.org.

Background:

Adopted at the WTO's 2013 Ministerial Conference in Bali, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.  The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO's membership has accepted the Agreement (108 Members). 

Full implementation of the TFA has the potential to reduce global trade costs by an average of 14.3 percent.  Further, according to the WTO’s recent World Trade Report, the developing country export gains could range as high as $1.1 trillion to $1.8 trillion.

In addition to the six acceptances received in Nairobi from Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Burma (Myanmar), Zambia and Ukraine, the following WTO members have also accepted the TFA:  Australia, Belize, Botswana, China, Côte d’Ivoire, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), Grenada, Guyana, Hong Kong China, Japan, Korea, Lao PDR, Liechtenstein, Malaysia, Mauritius, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Niger, Pakistan, Panama, Saint Lucia, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Togo, Thailand, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.