Frequently asked questions

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This page contains the most commonly asked questions about the Trade Facilitation Agreement.  If you cannot find an answer to your question, please send it to us.

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This page provides a notification template and model that Members may wish to follow in preparing their Category A, B or C notifications. 

For a detailed analysis of the category A, B or C notifications received so far, please visit this dashboard

 

The TFA contains some 36 measures that governments must implement that will provide transparency of laws, rules and procedures; fairness in border agency decisions; streamlined clearance procedures; and help reduce administrative constraints on import, export and transit.

They not only benefit trade through reduced administrative burdens, costs, and delays related to border procedures, but can also lead to more effective, efficient and modern government practices.

Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) could reduce worldwide trade costs by anywhere from 12.5% to 17.5%, according to an OECD analysis, with the greatest benefits accruing in developing countries.
 

At the WTO level, there is a Committee on Trade Facilitation which held its inaugural meeting on 16 May 2017 where  Members elected Ambassador Daniel Blockert (Sweden) as chair. 

 At the national level, each WTO Member is required to establish and/or maintain a National Committee on Trade Facilitation.  The TFA does not provide guidance on how such committees should be established. 

Many Members have already established, or are about to establish, national committees.  Other Members have, however,  faced a number of challenges in trying to determine how best to do so.   The WTO publication National Committees on Trade Facilitation: current practices and challenges seeks to provide support to these Members by summarizing the results of a WTO experience-sharing workshop that took place in June 2016 as well as the results of an electronic survey undertaken by the WTO which collected information on the practices and challenges faced by more than 100 WTO Members. 

 For more information, read Article 23 of the TFA.

All questions by topic

Notification

An overview of all notification obligations under the Trade Facilitation Agreement and timelines for submission can be found  here

For more information about the latest notifications received, please follow this page 

Yes, notification and ratification are two distinct and independent processes. 

Members sometimes present notifications before having completed their ratification process in order to make sure they have best reflected their needs for technical assistance and capacity building. 

There is no opt-out option if an eligible Member wants to make use of the flexibilities set out in Section II of the Agreement.  All measures under Section I of the Agreement must be designated as belonging to either category A , B or C. 

Whilst it is possible to designate additional measures under category A, it is not possible to retroactively move a previous category A commitment to category B or C. 

For the purpose of calculating the exact percentage of categories A, B and C notifications, each Member's notification is divided into the all 239 article items contained in Section I of the Agreement.  These article items are classified as follows: 

A, B, C = item covered in the relevant category

N (not yet notified)= the Member has not yet notified this item

The percentage is calculated as the count of each of those categories with respect to the maximum of 239 article items. 

The percentage for a specific region or grouping is based on the total number of Members in that grouping multiplied by 239.

The percentage for a specific measure is based on the total number of article items contained in that particular measure.

When submitting notifications, Members can break down the notified measure into all article items contained in the measure, allowing them to designate certain items as Cat. A while others as Cat. B or C. The entire Section I of the Agreement contains 239 notifiable items, within 36 measures and 12 Articles. 

The breakdown of the measures and article items and their definition can be found here

For more information on the methodology used in this database, follow this page

 

This page provides a notification template and model that Members may wish to follow in preparing their Category A, B or C notifications. 

For a detailed analysis of the category A, B or C notifications received so far, please visit this dashboard

 

Implementation

The TFA contains some 36 measures that governments must implement that will provide transparency of laws, rules and procedures; fairness in border agency decisions; streamlined clearance procedures; and help reduce administrative constraints on import, export and transit.

They not only benefit trade through reduced administrative burdens, costs, and delays related to border procedures, but can also lead to more effective, efficient and modern government practices.

Implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) could reduce worldwide trade costs by anywhere from 12.5% to 17.5%, according to an OECD analysis, with the greatest benefits accruing in developing countries.
 

Yes, as indicated in Article 23 of the TFA, each WTO Member is required to establish and/or maintain a National Committee on Trade Facilitation.  The TFA does not provide guidance on how such committees should be established. 

Many Members have already established, or are about to establish, national committees.  Other Members have, however,  faced a number of challenges in trying to determine how best to do so.   The WTO publication National Committees on Trade Facilitation: current practices and challenges seeks to provide support to these Members by summarizing the results of a WTO experience-sharing workshop that took place in June 2016 as well as the results of an electronic survey undertaken by the WTO which collected information on the practices and challenges faced by more than 100 WTO Members. 

At the WTO level, there is a Committee on Trade Facilitation which held its inaugural meeting on 16 May 2017 where  Members elected Ambassador Daniel Blockert (Sweden) as chair. 

 At the national level, each WTO Member is required to establish and/or maintain a National Committee on Trade Facilitation.  The TFA does not provide guidance on how such committees should be established. 

Many Members have already established, or are about to establish, national committees.  Other Members have, however,  faced a number of challenges in trying to determine how best to do so.   The WTO publication National Committees on Trade Facilitation: current practices and challenges seeks to provide support to these Members by summarizing the results of a WTO experience-sharing workshop that took place in June 2016 as well as the results of an electronic survey undertaken by the WTO which collected information on the practices and challenges faced by more than 100 WTO Members. 

 For more information, read Article 23 of the TFA.

Technical Assistance and Capacity Building

The WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility website contains information on donor Members, international and regional organizations that provide assistance and support for capacity building. 

 The Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF or the Facility) was created at the request of developing and least-developed country (LDC) Members to help ensure that they receive the assistance they need to reap the full benefits of the Agreement, and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the Agreement by all Members.

Ratification

All WTO Members must complete their domestic ratification process. The Agreement will enter into force for those Members that have not yet presented the instrument of ratification on the same date they provide their instrument of ratification. 

For a complete overview of the different notification timelines and obligations, click here

For information on how to present the instrument of acceptance, click here

This page responds to frequently asked questions about acceptance procedures and provides a model instrument of acceptance that Members may wish to follow in preparing their instruments of acceptance.