Members considered, as a new standing agenda item, the timeliness of members' TFA implementation based on the definitive dates each had respectively notified. Between 1 January and 31 December 2022, 31 members have implementation dates due for a total of 229 measures according to a report from the WTO Secretariat. Between 1 January 2022 and 31 December 2023, 47 members have 444 measures due for implementation. The most common include the establishment of a single window that allows traders to submit documents to one contact point, the publication of information on trade procedures on the Internet, measures relating to risk management, the measurement and publication of average release times for merchandise, and cooperation among border agencies.

At present, notifications submitted by WTO members indicate that they have committed to implement 74.9% of TFA obligations. Among the developing members and least-developed country (LDC) members, the figure stands at 67.2%. The TFA is the first WTO agreement in which developing and LDC members can determine their own implementation schedules and seek to acquire implementation capacity through the provision of related assistance and support. Developed members were required to implement all provisions of the TFA from its entry into force.

During the meeting, two members provided voluntary updates on the status of their implementation under this new agenda item. Mongolia reported on its implementation of nine measures due in 2021 and two measures due in 2022, noting that it attached great importance to its timely implementation of the TFA.  Ukraine outlined its difficulties in implementing the TFA given the ongoing conflict.

Also at the meeting, many members took the floor to express their strong opposition to the invasion of Ukraine. The Russian delegate responded by saying that the WTO was not the proper venue for a discussion of this nature.

Members also considered updates on overdue notifications, another new standing agenda item. A total of 114 notifications are overdue from members, latest data show. The United States highlighted overdue notifications related to the TFA's transparency provisions, noting that 36 members have self-identified a definitive implementation deadline for these measures but have not yet submitted the necessary information to the Secretariat.

Members, moreover, held a dedicated session on transit issues faced by landlocked country members to share experiences on challenges including those brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic. Speakers noted the importance of infrastructure developments, digitalization, the streamlining and transparency of procedures, and collaboration between landlocked and transit countries. Kazakhstan, the world's largest landlocked country, indicated its support for a communication from over 40 members seeking the accelerated implementation of the TFA in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. Also in line with last year's review, members noted the ongoing work to prepare a document containing good practices and building blocks of successful National Committees on Trade Facilitation.

Other items

Members heard a presentation from Ghana on its establishment of a single window. The United States noted that the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the latest member to join as co-sponsor of the communication seeking the accelerated implementation of the TFA. The United Kingdom presented information on the assistance it provides, in partnership with other organizations, for TFA implementation by developing and LDC members.

Next meeting

The next Committee meeting will be held on 29 June to 1 July. Members are also preparing an event on 29 June to mark the 5th anniversary of the TFA's entry into force.




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