The World Customs Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement Working Group (TFAWG) successfully concluded the second day of its 7th Meeting. The second day consisted of a Joint Session with the 8th Meeting of the Capacity Building Committee (CBC). Discussions focused on the implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that entered into force on 22 February 2017.
The TFA, which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launched a new phase for trade facilitation reforms all over the world and it will create a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole. Moreover, once the TFA is fully implemented, developing countries are predicted to increase the number of new products exported by as much as 20 per cent, with least developed countries (LDCs) likely to see an increase of up to 35 per cent, according to a WTO study.
At the entry into force of the TFA, WCO Secretary General Dr Kunio Mikuriya said “the WCO has been, and will continue to be, fully committed to making the TFA a success in practical terms. We will do this by helping our Member Customs administrations who have asked for support in implementing the Agreement’s trade facilitation measures, which will improve economic competitiveness, contribute to economic growth and alleviate poverty.”
The Joint Session of TFAWG and CBC discussed the successes of the WCO Mercator Programme, a dedicated Capacity Building Programme consisting of WCO Instruments and Tools such as the Revised Kyoto Convention (RKC) and the WCO Time Release Study (TRS) to support Members in the harmonized implementation of the TFA. Delegates especially appreciated the assistance the Programme offered in stakeholder engagement, the establishment of National Committees on Trade Facilitation and the significant role played by WCO Members’ Experts.
The Joint Session also endorsed the Mercator Programme’s future operating modalities and delivery plan to further optimize the technical assistance to Members that requested the WCO for support in implementing the TFA.