WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force on 22 February 2017. It is a result of the Doha Round of Trade Negotiations, which was launched in 2001. The text of the TFA was adopted by WTO Members at the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, 3-6 December 2013. The Agreement entered into force in accordance with the provisions of Article X:3 of the WTO Agreement and Members have to individually accept the amendment of the WTO Agreement by depositing an instrument of acceptance for the Protocol of Amendment, adopted on 27 November 2014. An updated list of Members that have accepted the Protocol can be found on the WTO website. With the trade facilitation agreement WTO Members aim:

  • to “expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit;”
  • to facilitate “effective cooperation among Members on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues;” and
  • to enhance “assistance and support for capacity building” for developing and least developed country Members. (*1)

The full text of the Agreement can be found on the WTO website or in document attached (pdf of the Protocol and Agreement).
The Agreement has three sections:

Section I contains the substantive provisions, grouped in 12 Articles covering the following areas:

  • Publication and availability of information
  • Opportunity to comment, information before entry into force, and consultation
  • Advance rulings
  • Appeal and review procedures
  • Other measures to enhance impartiality, non-discrimination and transparency
  • Disciplines on fees and charges imposed on or in connection with importation and exportation
  • Release and clearance of goods
  • Border Agency Cooperation
  • Movement of Goods under Customs Control intended for import
  • Formalities connected with importation and exportation and transit
  • Freedom of Transit
  • Customs Cooperation

Section II includes the provisions on special and differential treatment for developing and least-developed country members, as well as the provision of technical assistance and capacity building.

Section III contains institutional arrangements and final provisions, covering the relationship with the other WTO Agreements, the accession process of Members to the Agreement after entry into force, the WTO Committee on Trade Facilitation, and national trade facilitation committees to be established in all WTO Members.

(*1) Agreement on Trade Facilitation Ministerial Decisions WT/MIN(13)36, 7 December 2013

Pages that cite the WTO Agreement: