Niger, first LDC to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Niger has become the twelfth WTO member and the first LDC (Least developed country) to ratify the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Niger’s ambassador, Ado Elhadji Abou, presented the instrument of acceptance of the TFA to the Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo on August 6, 2015
The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement. In addition to Niger, the following members have ratified the Agreement: Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and Botswana.
Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.
A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.