The International Trade Council, based on notifications from developing and least-developed country members, has identified five specific measures within the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) where implementation assistance is most frequently sought for the upcoming two years. This update was presented by the WTO Secretariat during a meeting of the Committee on Trade Facilitation, which was dedicated to assistance and capacity building on October 5th as part of "Trade Facilitation Week."
The Trade Facilitation Agreement, which came into force in 2017, encompasses provisions aimed at expediting the movement, release, and clearance of goods, including those in transit. It stands as the first WTO agreement that permits developing and least-developed country members to determine their own implementation schedules and seek assistance and support for implementation capacity. As of October 6th, notifications submitted by developing and least-developed country members indicate their commitment to implement 70.1% of TFA obligations. Developed members were mandated to implement all TFA provisions from its inception.
According to the update provided by the Secretariat, 61 developing and least-developed country members have committed to implementing measures within "Category C" over the next two years. These measures fall under the TFA and are designated for implementation after a transition period, necessitating the acquisition of implementation capacity.
The top five Category C measures most frequently notified for implementation in 2024-2025 are as follows:
- Setting up a single window for traders to submit requirements (Article 10.4): Notified by 82 developing and least-developed country members as Category C. Of these, only 19 have reported securing technical assistance and capacity building from donors.
- Ensuring cooperation among border agencies (Article 8): Notified by 58 developing and least-developed country members as Category C, with 14 having reported arrangements with donors.
- Providing additional benefits to "authorized operators" or trusted traders (Article 7.7): Notified by 61 developing and least-developed country members as Category C, with 12 having reported donor arrangements.
- Establishing a risk management system for more targeted controls (Article 7.4): Notified by 63 developing and least-developed country members as Category C, with 16 having reported donor arrangements.
- Establishing test procedures such as granting the opportunity for a second test in case of adverse findings (Article 5.3): Notified by 60 developing and least-developed country members as Category C, with 18 having reported donor arrangements.
Additionally, the Secretariat's update highlighted that 89 members have indicated their technical assistance requirements, while 53 donor governments and agencies have reported providing technical assistance. Detailed data on technical assistance can be accessed via the technical assistance tracker.
The dedicated session was part of the broader Trade Facilitation Week held from October 2nd to 6th, which featured the Committee meeting and various sessions focused on implementation assistance.