In light of the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO’s ninth ministerial conference in Bali, the International Trade Centre (ITC) has developed a practical guide which explains how the Agreement will come into force and the potential benefits for SMEs in developing countries. ITC’s recent survey confirms that exporting SMEs in developing countries are challenged by the complexities in the business environment and are looking forward to improvements.
The ITC believes that this Agreement could reduce supply chain barriers for SMEs, particularly in those countries where effective transport comes at an exorbitant price. If actively adopted in developing countries, the Trade Facilitation Agreement could enable SMEs to boost the local economy and alleviate poverty. However, “In order for SMEs to benefit, developing countries have to actually implement it,” commented Ms Gonzalez, ITC’s Executive Director. The ITC quickly responded to the implementation issue by creating this simplified guide for businesses and policymakers.
The guide summarises the twelve Articles of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in plain language and clear diagrams to help businesses understand the overall structure of the Agreement. The guide also encourages businesses to take advantage of the simplified customs process stipulated by ‘Advance rulings’ in Article 3 of the Agreement. Policymakers can also use this guide to identify points of technical assistance in implementing the Agreement and monitoring it.
A copy of the guide is attached to this article and can be found on the ITC website.