The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) came into force on 22 February 2017. This is the result of the Doha round of trade negotiations launched in 2001. The text of the TFA was adopted by WTO members at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali on 3 and 6 December 2013. The agreement entered into force in accordance with Article X:3 of the WTO agreement and members must individually accept the amendment to the WTO agreement by tabling an instrument for accepting the amendment protocol adopted on 27 November 2014. An updated list of members who have adopted the minutes is available on the WTO website. The Trade Facilitation Agreement targets WTO members: 12.1 Nothing in this article prevents a member from concluding or maintaining a bilateral, multilateral or regional agreement on the exchange or exchange of customs information and data, even on a safe and rapid basis, for example on an automatic basis. B or before the shipment arrives. 12.2 This article should not be interpreted in the sense that it alters or affects a member`s rights or obligations under these bilateral, plurilateral or regional conventions, or regulates the exchange of customs information and data under these other agreements. The second anniversary of the agreement is an excellent time to verify the level of ratification, notification of implementation and transparency of the AFA. According to this reality check, developing and least developed countries wishing to take advantage of the benefits of the agreement could take full account of the following recommendations: It is positive that seven CEPs have already communicated their indicative deadlines, while the deadline expires in two years (February 22, 2021), giving donors a clear signal about their commitment to implementing the agreement. Ratify – the sooner the better: the developing countries that will ratify the agreement in the coming months (and hopefully not years) have already missed some critical deadlines that will prevent them from using as much as possible the specific and differentiated provisions for the treatment of ADTs. Section II of the agreement contains innovative special and differentiated treatment provisions that link implementation by developing countries and LDCs to the acquisition of the ability to implement the agreement for the first time in WTO history (see box). In the two years since it came into force, 141 out of 164 countries have ratified the agreement, representing 86% of WTO membership (the TFA being applied on the basis of the most favoured nations).
12 of the other 22 countries are LDCs. Nine countries have not ratified the TFA and have not communicated the commitments of Categories A, B and C. This means that the level of development can have a direct impact on the complexity of legal systems and on countries` ability to assess what they have to do, prompting donors and development partners to assist in legal processes.