The World Trade Organization (WTO) members took note of trade facilitation commitments due to be implemented by year end at the 20 July 2021 meeting of the Committee on Trade Facilitation. Members also continued their work on the first review of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
According to an update the WTO Secretariat provided at the meeting, 36 members have committed to implementation dates for 136 TFA commitments, such as publishing trade procedures or hastening the release of perishable goods, ranging from 1 July to 31 December 2021. For the period until end-2022, the number increases to 389 implementation commitments from 74 members.
The deadlines are based on members' determinations of their own implementation schedules, which they previously notified to the Committee. Developing country members and least-developed countries (LDCs) can self-designate which provisions they will implement either immediately (Category A), after a transition period (Category B), or upon receiving assistance and support for capacity building (Category C). Developed countries were required to implement all provisions of the TFA from its entry into force on 22 February 2017.
The Secretariat further reported on the shifts developing and LDC members have made in their category designations of TFA measures as provided under Articles 17 and 19 of the TFA. Seventeen developing members and LDCs have shifted a total of 38 measures from Category B to C in their respective implementation schedules. Nineteen have shifted 57 measures from Category C to B. Moreover, five intend to make use of extended implementation dates.
The Secretariat also provided information on outstanding TFA ratifications and notifications from members.
The TFA provides that the Committee on Trade Facilitation must undertake a review of the operation and implementation of the Agreement four years from its entry into force and periodically thereafter.
The Chair of the Committee, Christopher O'Toole (Canada), briefed members on progress being made on the 2021 review of the TFA during a dedicated informal session of the Committee held the day before.
The United States and Madagascar made presentations on their TFA implementation efforts and initiatives.
The next formal Committee meeting is scheduled for 19-21 October. The dedicated session on technical assistance and capacity building support will take place on 21 October.
Story by: Riaan de Lange