Gabon and the Kyrgyz Republic have ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), putting the total number of ratifications from members at 102. Only eight more ratifications are needed to bring the TFA into force.
Gabon’s World Trade Organization ambassador Marianne Odette Bibalou Bounda submitted her country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 5 December. On 6 December the Kyrgyz Republic’s WTO ambassador Daniiar Mukashev submitted his country’s instrument of acceptance to DG Azevêdo.
Earlier, on 17 December 2014, Gabon submitted its Category A notification to the WTO outlining which substantive provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement. The Kyrgyz Republic submitted its Category A notification to the WTO on 31 July 2014.
The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement.
In addition to Gabon and the Kyrgyz Republic, the following WTO members have also accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Vietnam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica and Mongolia.
The TFA broke new ground for developing countries and least developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.
A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members. Further information on TFAF is available at www.TFAFacility.org.
Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion per annum, according to the WTO’s flagship World Trade Report released on 26 October 2015. Significantly, the Report also found that developing countries will benefit significantly from the TFA, capturing more than half of the available gains.