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Bangladesh ratifies WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement
01
Oct '16
Bangladesh
Bangladesh's WTO ambassador Shameem Ahsan (right) submitting his country's TFA instrument of acceptance to WTO director-general Roberto Azevêdo. Courtesy: WTO
Bangladesh has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), becoming the 94th member of the World Trade Organization (WTO) and 12th least developed country (LDC) to do so. 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.
 
The TFA 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.
 
It will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement. Bangladesh's acceptance means over 85 per cent of the ratifications needed for entry into force have now been received.
 
The TFA broke new ground for developing countries and 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 them 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 TFA has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion per annum, according to the WTO's flagship World Trade Report released in October 2015. Significantly, the Report also found that developing countries will benefit significantly from the TFA, capturing more than half of the available gains. (RKS)
 

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