Nepal to notify WTO on its TFA preparations

Kathmandu, July 28

Nepal is preparing to notify the World Trade Organisation (WTO) about its preparation regarding the implementation of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) that was agreed on during the ninth ministerial meeting in Bali from December 3 to 7, 2013.

As the TFA came into force from November 27, 2014 after two-third members notified their acceptance, member countries need to notify the WTO about their preparations regarding TFA implementation.

The Bali ministerial meeting had agreed upon 36 technical measures for the capacity and trade competitiveness enhancement. To implement the measures, WTO member states agreed to provide support and additional time, especially for the least developed countries (LDCs) and developing countries to implement all of the 36 measures.

Hence, Nepal has prepared its gap analysis report with regards to implementing the trade facilitation measures with support from the World Bank Group.

The gap analysis report has identified the measures that the country itself can implement within one year of the agreement coming into force (category A); some measures needing additional time of two years for implementation (category B); and measures it cannot implement without additional time and external support (category C). Category C includes measures that the country will be able to implement within five years only.

Nepal has put two measures that are fully aligned — pre-shipment inspection and better management of customs brokers to shorten the clearance time of goods at customs — under category ‘A’, according to Commerce Secretary Naindra Prasad Upadhyay.

Pre-shipment inspection has been identified as one of the measures that will help the customs prepare tariff classification and customs valuation of the goods that would be delivered in the country.

As per Upadhyay, Nepal has listed 14 measures under category ‘B’ — which includes common border procedures and uniform documentation; post clearance audit; separation of release from final determination of customs duties, taxes, fees and charges — which means that goods are released by customs prior to the payment of duties and taxes in cases where final classification of the goods, assessment of value and other transactions are pending; consultation services; procedures for appeal and review; general and specific disciplines on fees and charges for customs processing imposed in import and export; reducing detention and demurrage charges; managing perishable goods in export and import; procedures for appeal and review; forming customs cooperation national committee on trade facilitation, among others.

Likewise, Nepal needs additional time and external support to implement 20 measures. Freedom of transit; movement of goods intended for import under customs control; reducing formalities and documentation requirements, setting up enquiry points, managing electronic payment, among others fall under ‘C’ category.

“Nepal will issue the notification at WTO in the near future,” said Upadhyay.

Till date, altogether 65 countries have notified WTO that they will be including all the 36 measures of trade facilitation under category ‘A’, meaning they will able to implement all 36 measures signed in TFA within November 27 this year — a year after the agreement came into force.

The 10th ministerial meeting of WTO is scheduled for mid-December this year in Nairobi of Kenya, in which the achievements of Bali package will be assessed. TFA is considered as a major achievement of the Bali package.