On February 22 2017, Rwanda, Oman, Cha and Jordan, four WTO members, submitted the approval documents of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. So far, there have been 112 members approving the Trade Facilitation Agreement, exceeding the legal threshold that the agreement can only take effect with the approval of two thirds of the WTO members. The agreement now officially comes into effect and has been implemented to members who have approved it.
According to the WTO rules, members who approve the agreement should fulfill their commitment in aspects such as the transparency of the policies and regulations, modernization of management measures and coordination and cooperation of port management departments since the agreement takes effect. China approved and accepted the Trade Facilitation Agreement in September 2015. For China, measures in aspects such as simplifying document procedure, standardizing import and export fees will be put into effect immediately, except that few measures such as single window, defining and publishing average release time, duty-free re-importation of outbound processing goods and customs cooperation have set transitional period.
From global scale, the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement means that the international trade procedure will be more simplified and coordinated, the flow, release and customs clearance speed of trade in goods will be further accelerated and the global trade and economic growth will be definitely promoted. According to the measurement of the WTO Secretariat, the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement will enable the cost of the global trade to decrease 14.3% in average and bring a US$1-trillion export growth. Meanwhile, as the first multilateral trade in goods agreement reached since the establishment of the WTO 20 years ago, the Trade Facilitation Agreement marks a significant achievement obtained since the launching of the Doha Round Negotiation. The successful implementation of the agreement will further strengthen all parties’ confidence in the function of the WTO Doha Negotiation.
For China, as the biggest country of trade in good, the coming into effect and implementation of the agreement have the same remarkable and positive significance. On the one hand, the implementation of the agreement will contribute to the modernization of China’s comprehensive port management system, improve the competitiveness of Chinese products and improve the environment for foreign investment. On the other hand, the implementation of the agreement will generally improve the trade facilitation level of China’s trade partners, cultivate a convenient customs environment for the export of China’s products and extensively benefit enterprises.