Trade Facilitation

What is the Trade Facilitation Agreement?

From the 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference emerged the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which recognized the need for improvement in trade processes. Ratified at the beginning of 2017, the TFA is an important step towards reducing certain barriers to trade including the establishment of enquiry points (see guide), offering cross-border electronic payments (see guide), establishing measures for authorized economic operators (see guide), and establishing single windows for access to information (see guide).

Why does the TFA matter for MSMEs?

Although the  changes proposed by the TFA benefit all traders, smaller traders, with fewer resources, were identified as benefitting more. Section I of the agreement lists all the various areas and processes that should be aligned and modernized, with changes focused principally on two areas, communication and customs procedures. The ITC has highlighted certain articles of the TFA as especially relevant for MSME trade. For more details, see Making the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Work for SMEs.

Resources and trainings on the TFA for policymakers:

There are many resources for policymakers related to implementation of the TFA. Below are just a few, more can be found in the policymaker resource library.

Best practices and national examples: