UK stakes £500,000 on trade facilitation devt agenda
IN a bid to address barriers to trade among developing and least developed nations, the United Kingdom has staked £500,000 on the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement facility to implement the facilitation agreement in such countries.
According to the WTO, the fund is part of a broader £180 million commitment the UK has made to support trade facilitation in the countries, through bilateral, regional and multilateral programmes.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which is expected to become operational once two-thirds of WTO members have completed their domestic ratification process, is expected to reduce total trade costs by more than 14 per cent for low-income countries and more than 13 per cent for upper middle income countries by streamlining the flow of trade across borders.
Under current border procedures, the average transaction can involve numerous steps that continue to affect trade facilitation.
“Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) sets forth a series of measures for expeditiously moving goods across borders inspired by the best practices from around the world. The Agreement is ground-breaking in that, for the first time in WTO history, the commitments of developing and least-developed countries are linked to their capacity to implement the TFA. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help countries achieve that capacity”, the WTO stated.
The facility is coming on the heels of European Union’s plans (EU) to spend at least €6.5 billion every five years beginning; from 2015-2019 on the Economic Partnership Agreement (EPA) scheme, as well as during the transition period of 20 years till 2035.
Indeed, the UK facility became operational in November 2014 when the General Council adopted the Trade Facilitation Agreement Protocol, inserting the new Agreement into the WTO legal framework.
Till date, 51 WTO members, including several developing and least-developed countries, have ratified the TFA.
WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said: “I welcome the United Kingdom’s generous donation.