In addition to his meetings with government officials, the Director-General met with the President of the National Congress, Mauricio Oliva, who gave his assurances that the political will was there to secure the speedy ratification of the TFA. The Director-General also met with representatives of the Honduran business community, who cited the importance of the TFA in cutting trade costs.
To date, twelve WTO members have ratified the TFA, which will help expedite 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 was concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference and will enter into force once it has been accepted by two-thirds of the WTO’s membership.
Trade has always been an important component of growth for Central America. Intra-regional trade, as well as the transit of goods to other destinations can greatly benefit from TFA implementation. Nicaragua became the first Central American member to formally accept the TFA when it submitted its instrument of ratification to the WTO on 4 August
Technical assistance and capacity building will be key to accelerate adoption of the agreement. To this end, the TFA contains unique provisions aimed at helping developing and least developed countries implement the agreement, including commitments on assistance and support to achieve the capacity to implement.
The WTO stands ready to help in other ways. In June 2014 it launched the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) to help ensure assistance is provided to all those that require it and act as a focal point for implementation efforts. Several WTO members have already announced financing commitments to support the TFAF.