Topics handled by WTO committees and agreements
Issues covered by the WTO’s committees and agreements

TRADE FACILITATION: OVERVIEW
Overview of trade facilitation work in 2002

Following the Fourth Ministerial Conference, Members proceeded to carry out the Doha mandate by adopting a work program for 2002. In accordance with this program, four formal sessions were held in the responsible WTO body, the Council for Trade in Goods, addressing the following three core agenda items: (i) GATT Articles VVIII and X; (ii) trade facilitation needs and priorities of Members, particularly of developing and least-developed countries; (iii) and technical assistance and capacity-building.

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 SEE ALSO:
> Trade facilitation work in 2002

Trade facilitation work in 2001
Trade facilitation in the preparatory work for the Doha Ministerial Conference, (2001)

Trade facilitation work in 2000
De-restricted papers submitted until end of 2000

Work from mid-1998 until end of 1999
> Trade Facilitation in the preparatory work for the Seattle Ministerial Conference (1999)

Work in the WTO until mid-1998


At the first meeting on 23 and 24 May 2002, discussions of the first agenda item focussed on GATT Article X (Publication and Administration of Trade Regulations). Several delegations had submitted proposals (G/C/W/434) on how to improve and clarify this provision, covering various means to improve transparency such as the installation of enquiry points, the introduction of an advance ruling system, the more systematic consultation between customs administrations and traders and the establishment of effective appeal procedures. Some delegations stressed the need for the proposed measures to address issues such as implications for human and financial resources as well as differences in levels of development and corresponding different needs. Delegations also discussed ways to identify their trade facilitation needs and priorities and highlighted essential elements for the successful execution of assistance activities including coherence, coordination and targeting of audience and area covered.

A second meeting on 22 and 23 July 2002 saw the discussion of a number of proposals on how to clarify and improve GATT Article VIII (Fees and Formalities connected with Importation and Exportation). Among the suggestions were the simplification, standardization and streamlining of import/export procedures, the use of international standards and instruments, commitments on fees and charges, the acceptance of relevant commercially available information, the reduction of data requirements, the enhanced utilization of automation and the use of risk-assessment, pre-arrival processing and post-auditing and the incorporation of basic GATT/WTO principles such as non-discrimination, transparency and proportionality to govern the operation of relevant provisions of GATT Article VIII. During the discussion, questions were raised relating to the implementation of the proposed measures as well as to the challenges faced by many Members in their efforts to facilitate trade, such as the need to safeguard customs revenue, infrastructural deficiencies and security concerns. Under the second core agenda item, the Council discussed ways to advance the identification of Members' trade facilitation needs and priorities. With respect to technical assistance and capacity building, the Council was briefed on relevant activities of donor Members, other international organizations and the WTO Secretariat.

At its third meeting on 1 and 2 October 2002, the Council discussed several proposals on how to clarify and improve GATT Article V (Freedom of Transit). There was broad agreement on the existence of problems in the area of transit, especially for landlocked countries. The proposals underlined the necessity of strengthening and operationalizing Article V provisions by introducing new binding rules. Some Members also made reference to the mutually reinforcing nature of facilitation and better control/security, to attracting investment and improving overall economic stability. Other delegations questioned the need for a rule-making exercise and underlined the limited implementation capacities of a number of Members. Certain Members expressed a preference for trade facilitation measures to be undertaken autonomously. Regarding the identification of Members' trade facilitation needs and priorities, some delegations referred to the need to complete the harmonization work programme on non-preferential rules of origin as an important trade facilitation measure. Regarding technical assistance and capacity building, Members emphasized the importance they attached to this subject and to the work being carried by bilateral donors and international organizations in this area. It was stressed that work in this area should progress in parallel with the substantive part of the discussions in the Council, in order to develop a technical assistance work programme directed both to providing guidance and to building capacity to implement thereafter the eventual results.

A final meeting on 6 December 2002 served as a forum for an overall discussion of all three agenda items and to discuss the organization of future work for the time until the Fifth Ministerial Conference in September 2003. Members agreed on holding two additional CTG meetings (March and June), with the possibility of a third session at the end of July should that be considered necessary.

  

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Overview of written contributions provided to the CTG on Trade Facilitation in 2002 back to top

Symbol

Member / Other Source

Date

Title and Topic

G/C/W/363

European Communities

12 Apr 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article X of GATT on the Publication and Administration of Trade Regulations

G/C/W/374

WTO Secretariat

14 May 2002

Article X of the GATT 1994 – Scope and Application

G/C/W/376

Japan

22 May 2002

Trade Facilitation: Improvement of GATT Article X

G/C/W/377

Korea

22 May 2002

GATT Article X and Trade Facilitation

G/C/W/378

Canada

29 May 2002

Canada Customs and Revenue Agency (CCRA) International Co-operation Projects and Activities Current and Planned;
Fiscal Years 2001-2002 and 2002-2003

G/C/W/379

Canada

30 May 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article X of GATT on the Publication and Administration of Trade Regulations

G/C/W/380

New Zealand

30 May 2002

Technical Assistance – Trade Facilitation

G/C/W/384

United States of America

7 June 2002

Communication from the United States on Article X of GATT 1994

TD/TC/WP (2001)21/
FINAL (
Not circulated as CTG document)

OECD

10 Apr 2002

Business Benefits of Trade Facilitation

TD/TC/WP (2002)17/
FINAL
(Not circulated as CTG document)

OECD

11 Apr 2002

The Relationship Between Regional Trade Agreements and Multilateral Trading System

G/C/W/391

WTO Secretariat

9 July 2002

Article VIII of the GATT 1994 – Scope and Application

G/C/W/392

WCO Secretariat

11 July 2002

Trade Facilitation Issues in the Doha Ministerial Declaration – Review of the GATT Articles: Article X

G/C/W/393

WTO Secretariat

11 July 2002

Trade Facilitation Needs and Priorities of Members

G/C/W/394

European Communities

12 July 2002

WTO Trade Facilitation – Improvements to GATT Article VIII on Fees and Formalities Connected with Importation and Exportation

G/C/W/397

Canada

17 July 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article VIII of GATT 1994 on Fees and Formalities Connected with Importation and Exportation

G/C/W/398

Hong Kong, China

18 July 2002

Trade Facilitation:
GATT Article VIII on Fees and Formalities Connected with Importation and Exportation

G/C/W/400

United States of America

19 July 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article VIII of GATT 1994 on Fees and Formalities Connected with Importation and Exportation

G/C/W/401

Japan

22 July 2002

Improvements of GATT Article VIII

G/C/W/403

Korea

25 July 2002

Trade Facilitation: GATT Article VIII

G/C/W/407

WCO Secretariat

29 July 2002

Trade Facilitation Issues in the Doha Ministerial Declaration
Review of the GATT Articles
Article VIII

G/C/W/408

WTO Secretariat

10 Sept 2002

Article V of the GATT 1994 – Scope and Application

G/C/W/420

Japan

30 Sept 2002

Technical Assistance – Trade Facilitation

G/C/W/422

European Communities

30 Sept 2002

WTO Trade Facilitation – Strengthening WTO Rules on GATT Article V on Freedom of Transit

G/C/W/423

Korea

1 Oct 2002

Trade Facilitation:
GATT Article V

G/C/W/424

Canada

1 Oct 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article V of GATT 1994 on Freedom of Transit

G/C/W/425

Colombia

1 Oct 2002

Trade Facilitation:
Article VIII of the GATT 1994 on Fees and Formalities connected with Importation and Exportation

G/C/W/426

WCO Secretariat

8 Oct 2002

Trade Facilitation Issues in the Doha Ministerial Declaration
Review of the GATT Articles
Article V

G/C/W/427

UNCTAD

8 Oct 2002

Freedom of Transit:
Obligations and Implications of Article V of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade

G/C/W/434

WTO

15 Nov 2002

Review, Clarification and Improvement of GATT Articles V, VIII and X — Proposals made by Delegations

G/C/W/440

Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu

26 Nov 2002

The E-Customs Experience of the Separate Customs Territory of Taiwan, Penghu, Kinmen and Matsu

G/C/W/442

EC

3 Dec 2002

Information on Trade Related Assistance by the EC and its Member States

G/C/W/443

Australia

4 Dec 2002

Overview on Trade Facilitation

G/C/W/445

WCO

11 Dec 2002

Compendium of WCO Capacity Building Tools

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