WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement - Why Ghana Must Ratify

The mandate for trade facilitation negotiation was limited to clarifying and improving GATT 1994 Article V on freedom of transit; Article VIII on fees and formalities in connection with importation and exportation of goods; and Article X on publication and administration of trade regulations. The trade facilitation agreement has a very simple objective of reducing trade cost. It could be understood as simplification, harmonization, and automation of the procedures applied to international trade, particularly the requirements and formalities related to importation and exportation of goods, including goods in transit.

Deliberation on trade facilitation (TF) in the WTO history dates back to 1996. The TF, together with issues related to Competition, Investment and Government Procurement were identified and christened as “Singapore Issues”. The Negotiation Committee was established in 2004 and agreement was eventually reached in Bali, Indonesia at the ninth WTO Ministerial Meeting (MC9) on December 2013.

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