110 member states have ratified the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). This is the first successful multi-lateral trade agreement in the 22-year history of the WTO. Seen as a milestone, this agreement is set to boost annual global exports by 1 trillion dollars.
WTO General Director Roberto Azevedo called the TFA "the most important reform to world trade" in more than 15 years. The agreement affects agriculture, development aid and trade facilitation through reducing customs-related bureaucracy. The 164 WTO member countries are now required to reduce documentation for cross-border transit, to make provisions more transparent and to provide the necessary infrastructure and personnel to execute expeditious movement of goods.
Benefits for Swiss SMEs projected
The main beneficiaries are small and middle-sized businesses (SMEs), Swiss WTO Ambassador Didier Chambovey told the news agency sda. In addition, Chambovey sees this agreement as an inspiration for further initiatives to be discussed in the WTO, particularly in the area of services and investments.