WTO's trade facilitation agreement comes into effect

WTO's trade facilitation agreement comes into effect

WTO termed it as a major milestone for concluding the first multilateral deal in 21 years.


The WTO's trade facilitation agreement, which seeks to ease customs norms, has come into effect from Wednesday with its two-thirds members ratifying the pact.

The TFA, which has been ratified by India, will give a boost to the global trade, which has been impacted due to slowdown in the world economy.

According to experts, the agreement comes at a time when India's efforts to improve exports are gaining momentum.

"As the pact has come into force, the member countries who have ratified would now be required to ease customs barriers.

It would help countries like India which are trying to push exports," said Biswajit Dhar, professor at the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

The 164-member World Trade Organisation (WTO) in a statement said that a major milestone for the global trading system was reached on Wednesday as the first multilateral deal concluded in the 21-year history of the multilateral trade body entered into force.

In receiving four more ratifications for the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the WTO has obtained the two- thirds acceptance of the agreement from its 164 members needed to bring the TFA into force.

"The entry into force of this agreement, which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms all over the world and creates a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole," it said.

It said full implementation of the pact is forecast to slash members' trade costs by an average of 14.3%, with developing countries having the most to gain.

"Once the TFA is fully implemented, developing countries are predicted to increase the number of new products exported by as much as 20%...," it added.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo said: "This would boost global trade by up to 1 trillion dollars each year, with the biggest gains being felt in the poorest countries. The impact will be bigger than the elimination of all existing tariffs around the world".

Increasing for the fifth month in a row, India's exports grew by 4.32% to $22.11 billion in January.