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Panorama Around the worldThe Trade Facilitation Agreement Database

Around the world Posted on 2021-12-20 15:15:46

The Trade Facilitation Agreement Database


María Álvarez de Cózar, Trade Facilitation Section, Market Access Division, World Trade Organization (WTO).

The designations and denominations employed and the presentation of the material in this article do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever on the part of the OIE concerning the legal status of any country, territory, city or area or of its authorities, or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers and boundaries.
The views expressed in this article are solely the responsibility of the author(s). The mention of specific companies or products of manufacturers, whether or not these have been patented, does not imply that these have been endorsed or recommended by the OIE in preference to others of a similar nature that are not mentioned.

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The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement Database (TFAD) is an online platform that allows users to track and analyse the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The TFA is the first WTO Agreement in which developing and least-developed country Members can set their own implementation schedules, and progress in implementing the Agreement is explicitly linked to acquiring the necessary technical assistance and support to build capacity.

The TFAD’s interactive implementation dashboard makes it easier to analyse this process by providing various tools to examine the status of WTO Members’ implementation commitments. Collectively, these commitments provide a roadmap of when we can expect full implementation of the TFA by the entire Membership.

The TFAD also provides in-depth information on the series of transparency notifications mandated by the TFA, such as the requirement to publish online information on import and export procedures or to provide Contact Points to respond to enquiries. This information is available on each Member profile, as well as on a dedicated page for governments and traders to consult. In addition, the Member profiles provide a platform for in-depth examinations of individual progress on implementation.

The database also allows users to access all notifications and communications submitted by Members. Moreover, it updates the activities of the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee and provides access to related information.

Background information

Traders from both developing and least-developed countries have long pointed to the vast amount of ‘red tape’ that exists when moving goods across borders and which poses a particular burden on small and medium-sized enterprises. To address this, WTO Members negotiated a landmark TFA, which is designed to deliver practical measures to strengthen global trade and economic growth. The TFA – which came into force on 22 February 2017 – 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.

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