TRADE FACILITATION

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Under the TFA, developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs) can self-designate which provisions they will implement either immediately (Category A), after a transition period (Category B), or upon receiving assistance and support for capacity building (Category C). They are required to communicate these choices within stipulated timeframes. Developed countries were required to implement all provisions of the TFA from its entry into force on 22 February 2017.

So far, 88% of developing countries and LDCs have notified the WTO according to a Secretariat report presented at the Committee meeting. Moreover, among the 60 developing countries that have designated their Category C commitments, 92% have already notified their definitive dates of implementation for this last set of commitments as of the 22 August deadline for submission.

In addition, as of 15 October, 146 WTO members or almost 90% of all members have deposited their ratification of the TFA. The most recent ratifications were from Tajikistan and the Maldives.

As a result, members at the October meeting said they now have more clarity on which areas need further support to achieve full TFA implementation and what technical assistance is required to meet these obligations. Based on the notifications received, technical assistance is most commonly requested for training, establishing legislative and regulatory frameworks, and providing information and communication technologies. Members added that continued work is needed to make progress on outstanding notifications and ratifications.

A number of developing countries and LDCs expressed their thanks for the assistance they have received so far to implement the TFA, while at the same time drawing attention to certain difficulties in securing further support. The help of donors is vital for bringing more members over the line of full TFA implementation, they said.

At its regular session on 15 October, members undertook a review of the more than 80 notifications received since the June Committee meeting. They also had the opportunity to share experiences on how various members were implementing a number of TFA provisions. The regular session was followed by an annual dedicated session on technical assistance and capacity building, which focuses on identifying the opportunities and challenges to securing such help. Presentations from both meetings are available here.

A lunchtime seminar held on the margins of the Committee meeting examined the role trade facilitation plays in helping reduce border delays for disaster relief.

The next meeting of the Committee will be on 11 and 12 February.

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