Mexico Ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement
Mexico has ratified the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in the latest signal of support for the landmark global deal. Mexico’s WTO ambassador Fernando De Mateo presented his country’s instrument of ratification to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo last week.
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 will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO members have formally accepted the agreement. With the acceptance by Mexico, the number of TFA ratifications now stands at 87, representing more than three-quarters of those needed to bring the agreement into force.
The TFA broke new ground for developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) 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 LDCs 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.
Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion per year, according to the WTO’s World Trade Report released in October 2015. The report also found that developing countries will benefit significantly from the TFA, capturing more than half of the available gains.