The long and winding road: how WTO members finally reached a trade facilitation agreement

The paper chronicles the negotiating history of the recently concluded Trade Facilitation Accord. Analysing the various stages of the decade-long effort to get the Agreement off the ground, it examines what was at stake in the negotiations, how they evolved and why they finally succeeded — despite many obstacles and detours along the way.

The study also suggests ways in which the exercise has broken new ground – for Trade Facilitation rule-making at the global level, for how WTO Members negotiate agreements, and for the world trading system as a whole.


No: ERSD-2014-06

Authors: Nora Neufeld is a Counsellor in the Trade Policy Review Division

Manuscript date: April 2014

Key Words:

WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation, trade facilitation negotiations, negotiating history, multilateral trading system;

JEL classification numbers:


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This is a working paper, and hence it represents research in progress. This paper represents the opinions of the author, and is the product of professional research. It is not meant to represent the position or opinions of the WTO or its Members, nor the official position of any staff members. Any errors are the fault of the author. Copies of working papers can be requested from the divisional secretariat by writing to: Economic Research and Statistics Division, World Trade Organization, Rue de Lausanne 154, CH 1211 Geneva 21, Switzerland. Please request papers by number and title.

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