Trade Facilitation Agreement Negotiation

This section contains WCO and WTO documents relating to the WTO trade facilitation negotiations. It was not until 2001, at the Doha Ministerial Conference, that important issues were raised during the negotiations, stemming from the draft text. The Colorado Group was still trying to increase its membership, while its opposition was also not inactive. The Doha Ministerial Conference was a bit fruitful in bringing negotiations between the two sides closer together. However, the negotiation process has not yet taken place. At the Cancun Ministerial Conference in September 2003, it was stressed that negotiations remain difficult to grasp. European exporters and importers account for 22% of world trade. Simple, modern and harmonized customs procedures are essential to make international trade as efficient as possible. It will make trade-related administration simpler and less costly and will also help to improve transparency, increase opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises to participate in global value chains, and reduce the scope for corruption. Full implementation of FTAs is estimated to reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3% and boost world trade by up to $1 trillion per year, with the highest growth in the poorest countries. For the first time in the history of the WTO, the implementation of the agreement is directly linked to the country`s ability to do so. A Trade Facilitation Mechanism (TFAF) has been set up to ensure that developing and least developed countries receive the assistance they need to take full advantage of the benefits of the TFA. Although members adopted the Doha Ministerial Declaration at the 2001 Ministerial Conference, trade facilitation negotiations did not begin until the second half of 2004.

Indeed, WTO members have failed to agree on the work programme and modalities and developing countries have opposed the opening of negotiations on new issues, including trade facilitation. Opposition to trade facilitation was finally halted and negotiations were initiated by the “July Package” in the General Council`s decision of 2 August 2004 . Following the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali, an agreement on trade facilitation was proposed. WTO members formally agreed to open trade facilitation negotiations in 2004 in accordance with the July 2004 framework package (called the Cancun decision). The main defenders are the main developed countries, while many developing countries have taken a defensive stance.