TRADE FACILITATION: AGREEMENT
The Trade Facilitation Agreement: An overview
The Trade Facilitation Agreement has three sections:
- Section I contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It clarifies and improves the relevant articles (V, VIII and X) of the General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) 1994. It also sets out provisions for customs cooperation.
- Section II contains special and differential treatment (SDT) provisions that allow developing and least-developed countries (LDCs) to determine when they will implement individual provisions of the Agreement and to identify provisions that they will only be able to implement upon the receipt of technical assistance and support for capacity building. To benefit from SDT, a member must categorize each provision of the Agreement, as defined below, and notify other WTO members of these categorizations in accordance with specific timelines outlined in the Agreement (see below).
- Category A: provisions that the member will implement by the time the Agreement enters into force (or in the case of a least-developed country within one year after entry into force)
- Category B: provisions that the member will implement after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement
- Category C: provisions that the member will implement on a date after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement and requiring the acquisition of assistance and support for capacity building.
For provisions designated as categories B and C, the member must provide dates for implementation of the provisions, as outlined in the following factsheets:
- Section III contains provisions that establish a permanent committee on trade facilitation at the WTO, require members to have a national committee to facilitate domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the Agreement. It also sets out a few final provisions.