The mandate for these negotiations is set out in
Annex D (“Modalities
for Negotiations on Trade Facilitation”) of the “July Package”.
Members agreed that the negotiations “shall aim to clarify and improve
relevant aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of the GATT 1994 with a view
to further expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods,
including goods in transit”.
Negotiations also aim at “enhancing technical assistance and support for
capacity building in this area,” and at developing “provisions for
effective cooperation between customs or any other appropriate
authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues”. The
results “shall take fully into account the principle of special and
differential treatment for developing and least-developed countries”. It
was further agreed that these countries would not be obliged “to
undertake investments in infrastructure projects beyond their means”.
On 12 October 2004, the Trade Negotiations Committee established the
Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation and appointed Ambassador Muhamad
Noor of Malaysia as its Chairperson.
Soon thereafter, the newly established Negotiating Group agreed on a
Work Plan and a schedule of meetings at its
A second meeting took place on 22-23 November 2004, allowing Members to
benefit from an educational and stock-taking process while also offering
the opportunity to contribute on the agreed agenda of the Negotiating
Group. The WTO Secretariat briefed delegates on the relevant GATT
Articles and technical assistance related to trade facilitation. UNCTAD,
the World Customs Organization, the World Bank and the OECD gave
briefings on the work they are carrying out in this area.
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