Niger first among the LDCs to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement
Niger became the first LDC country, and the twelfth WTO member, to sign the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 6 August. The instrument of acceptance of the TFA was presented by Niger’s ambassador, Ado Elhadji Abou, to WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo.
The other eleven members that have thus far ratified the Agreement, include: Nicaragua, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia and Botswana.
The Agreement was adopted at the 2013 Bali Ministerial and will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership have formally accepted the Agreement. There is much urging for remaining members to complete this ratification process, particularly ahead of the Nairobi Ministerial in December, where WTO members are hoping for implementation of the outcomes of the wider ‘Bali Package’.
The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.