Nepal presents documents to WTO after ratifying Trade Facilitation Agreement

KATHMANDU: Nepal has presented the instrument of acceptance of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to the World Trade Organisation in Geneva after the country's Parliament ratified it.

Nepal's Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, Deepak Dhital met the WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on Tuesday to submit the documents, according to Nepal's Permanent Mission in Geneva.

Nepal is the 108th WTO member and the 14th least developed country (LDC) to ratify the agreement, which would come into force after two more ratifications from members for would meet the mandatory acceptance from the two-thirds of WTO membership.

Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, 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, according to a WTO media release. The TFA further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

Full implementation of the TFA would reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain, according to a study carried out by WTO economists.

The TFA also has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half while also reducing time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent respectively over the current average. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion.

Prior to Nepal, the following WTO members accepted the TFA: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei Darussalam, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia, Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates, Samoa, India, the Russian Federation, Montenegro, Albania, Kazakhstan, Sri Lanka, St. Kitts and Nevis, Madagascar, the Republic of Moldova, El Salvador, Honduras, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Senegal, Uruguay, Bahrain, Bangladesh, the Philippines, Iceland, Chile, Swaziland, Dominica, Mongolia, Gabon, the Kyrgyz Republic, Canada, Ghana, Mozambique, Saint Vincent & the Grenadines and Nigeria.