Ambassador Esteban Conejos, chairman of the WTO’s Preparatory Committee on Trade Facilitation (PCTF), called on members that have not yet submitted their so-called “Category B” and “Category C” notifications to do so as soon as possible.
The chairman told the committee that only five members — Georgia, Mauritius, Malawi, Solomon Islands and Zambia — have submitted their B and C notifications.
Category B covers TFA commitments that a developing or least-developed country member will implement after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement, while Category C covers commitments that a developing or least-developed country (LDC) member will implement after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement and that require technical assistance and capacity-building support to implement.
Notifications on Category B and C commitments are to be submitted by developing countries upon entry into force of the TFA, with LDCs given an additional year after entry into force to submit their notifications.
The chairman noted that 87 developing and LDC members have now submitted their Category A notifications, which he described as “excellent news.” The Category A notifications indicate which provisions of the TFA the members will implement upon entry into force of the Agreement, or one year after entry into force for LDCs.
All developed country members are expected to implement all TFA provisions upon entry into force of the Agreement.
Mexico informed the PCTF that its Senate has ratified the TFA and that it expected to hand over its instrument of acceptance to the WTO very soon following some final internal procedures. Peru said a decree ratifying the TFA has been sent to the country’s president for signature and that it hoped to deposit its instrument of acceptance shortly.
Nigeria said it was making every effort to submit its B and C notifications and that it hoped to be among the members that have ratified the TFA in the not distant future. Cameroon said its notifications and ratification would be forthcoming but that it would be good to know how the financing and adjustment measures would all fall into place.
Several WTO members thanked the Secretariat for having organized, on 8 June, an experience-sharing session on establishing or maintaining a national committee on trade facilitation, and for complementing the exercise with an electronic survey that collected information for almost half of the membership. A number of members (Brazil, Pakistan, Turkey, Sri Lanka and Benin) said this type of meeting should be replicated in other areas covered by the Agreement. The session, which focused on experts’ experiences in setting up and maintaining national trade facilitation committees, was the first at the WTO to discuss how best to implement specific commitments under the TFA. Further news and information on the event is available on the trade facilitation webpage at www.wto.org/tradefacilitation.
New video highlights donor support for TFA implementation
Delegations at the PCTF meeting were shown a new video prepared by the WTO Secretariat highlighting existing programmes available from donor members and donor organizations to help developing country and LDC members implement their TFA commitments.
The video was filmed at a March 2016 seminar organized by the Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF). The TFAF was created at the request of developing and LDC 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.