Agreement on trade facilitation

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Trade facilitation refers to the simplification, modernization, and harmonization of international trade procedures, policies, and processes to expedite the movement of goods across borders. It aims to reduce transaction costs, enhance efficiency, and promote transparency in global trade.

While I don’t have access to the most recent developments in trade agreements beyond my knowledge cutoff in September 2021, I can provide information on the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (ATF) based on what was known at that time.

The Agreement on Trade Facilitation is a legally binding agreement established by the World Trade Organization (WTO) in 2013. It is one of the key outcomes of the WTO’s Bali Package. The agreement focuses on streamlining and standardizing customs procedures and documentation to make international trade easier and more efficient.

The ATF includes provisions related to the following areas:

  1. Simplification and harmonization of customs procedures: The agreement promotes the use of simplified customs procedures, automation, and electronic documentation to facilitate trade.
  2. Advance rulings and transparency: It encourages member countries to provide advance rulings on customs valuation, classification, and origin of goods to ensure predictability and transparency for traders.
  3. Border agency cooperation: The agreement emphasizes cooperation among different border control agencies to facilitate the flow of goods across borders efficiently.
  4. Customs formalities and documentation: It aims to simplify and standardize customs forms, procedures, and documentation requirements, reducing administrative burdens for traders.
  5. Release and clearance of goods: The agreement encourages expedited release and clearance procedures, including the use of risk management techniques and post-clearance audits.
  6. Transit trade: It addresses issues related to transit trade, including transit guarantees, transit simplification, and cooperation among transit countries.

The ATF requires member countries to implement specific measures to improve trade facilitation within their respective jurisdictions. It also provides technical assistance and capacity-building support for developing countries to help them implement the agreement effectively.

Since the establishment of the ATF, member countries have been working toward its implementation, and progress varies across nations. The agreement aims to enhance global trade by reducing barriers and increasing predictability, thereby benefiting businesses and economies worldwide.

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