Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Asia and the Pacific: 2 years on (ESCAP Trade Insights: Issue No. 26)

Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Asia and the Pacific: 2 years on (ESCAP Trade Insights: Issue No. 26)

Date: 
Tuesday, August 6, 2019
Type: 
Public information and advocacy materials
Abstract

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force in 2017. The analysis of official notifications submitted to the WTO by ESCAP members and associate members reveals that significant progress has been made by Asia-Pacific developing economies in implementing the agreement. Highlights of the analysis include the following:
• 37 Asia-Pacific economies included in this analysis have, on average, notified 65% of the substantive provisions in the WTO TFA in category A. In other words, 65% of the WTO TFA has already been implemented in the region, a 6-percentage point increase from 2017.
• Measures most notified in category B, i.e. indicating more time is needed for their implementation, are measures related to Sub-article 1.4 “Notifications”, Sub-article 2.2 “Consultations” and Sub-article 6.1 “General Disciplines on Fees and Charges”.
• 5 measures most notified under category C, i.e. requiring technical assistance and capacity building, are: Article 10.4 “Single Window”, Article 7.7 “Trade Facilitation measures for Authorized Operators”, Article 7.4 “Risk Management”, Article 10.3 “Use of International Standards” and Article 8 “Border Agency Cooperation”.
• Asia-Pacific LDCs’ average rate of implementation is 27%, according to their category A notification. They require capacity building and technical assistance for 50% of the WTO TFA provisions.
• Transparency notifications, where countries are supposed to provide information on actual implementation of several TFA measures, are very useful but are not fully complied with.
• Some developing countries are at risk of losing access to implementation flexibilities and technical assistance, as they have yet to notify definitive dates of implementation of some provisions (deadline: 22 August 2019).
• Given the best-endeavour nature of many WTO TFA provisions, as well as incentives for developing countries to notify under other categories, category A notifications provide an imperfect picture of implementation of trade facilitation measures.

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