WCO Welcomes the WTO’s Decision on the Trade Facilitation Agreement

28 November 2014

The World Customs Organization (WCO) welcomes the 27 November 2014 decision of the World Trade Organization (WTO) General Council to adopt the Protocol of Amendment to the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).  This decision inserts the TFA into Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement.

The WTO’s decision is a critical step to implement the TFA, which focuses on Customs-related topics and foresees cooperation between all relevant agencies and stakeholders.

The WCO and the WTO have a long-standing history of cooperation and, as one of the Annex D organizations, the WCO has supported the trade facilitation negotiating process since inception. With decades of experience in implementing global Customs standards, the WCO is an important source of expertise for supporting a harmonized approach in TFA implementation, based on the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and many other WCO instruments and tools.

Immediately after the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, the WCO Policy Commission adopted the Dublin Resolution at its meeting in December 2013, which commits the WCO to the efficient implementation of the TFA.

The WCO Working Group on TFA (TFAWG) was established as the platform for sharing experiences regarding the implementation of the TFA and to enhance coordination between the WCO, donors, other international organizations, and the private sector.

The WCO has launched the Mercator Programme, with the aim to provide tailor-made technical assistance for implementing the TFA and supporting harmonized implementation based on the WCO’s international standards, instruments and tools.

Customs administrations worldwide are playing a leading role for TFA implementation in collaboration with other relevant government agencies under “Coordinated Border Management - An inclusive approach for connecting stakeholders”, which is the WCO theme for 2015.

The WCO will continue intensive discussions on further enhancing  initiatives to successfully implement the WTO TFA at the upcoming WCO Policy Commission to be held in Recife, Brazil, from 8 to 10 December.