Trade Briefs

An Update on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and African countries

An Update on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and African countries

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21 Feb 2019

Author(s): Talkmore Chidede

The World Trade Organisation (WTO) defines trade facilitation as the simplification, modernization, and harmonisation of export and import processes. Trade facilitation at the WTO has a long and winding history. It first appeared on the multilateral trade agenda in December 1996 at the 1st WTO Ministerial Conference held in Singapore.

The trade facilitation negotiations were officially concluded at the 9th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Bali, Indonesia in December 2013 – resulting in the adoption of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders. The TFA was then incorporated into the Agreement Establishing the WTO. It entered into force on 22 February 2017, after the number of ratifications reached the required threshold of 110.

The majority of African countries have ratified and are in the process of implementing the WTO TFA. This Trade Brief gives an update on the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement and African countries. In particular, it gives an account of the current ratification and implementation status of the TFA by African countries. It also highlights potential benefits to African countries if they fully implement the Agreement.


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