WTO Members are implementing the Agreement WTO Member States have agreed on how the so-called Bali Package, a series of decisions taken at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in December 2013, will be implemented. Included in the Bali Package is the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation (‘the TFA’) 1 , an accord to simplify customs and other border procedures for the efficient clearance of goods for import and export. A Protocol of Amendment adopted on 27 November 2014 incorporates the TFA into the WTO Agreement. Member States are beginning the process of acceptance of the Protocol and ratification of the TFA into national law.
All obligations under the TFA are binding on developed country Member States as soon as the Agreement enters into force. The Agreement recognizes that some developing countries and least developed countries (LDCs) will require technical assistance before they can implement some or all of the obligations to which they will be bound. Such Member States have begun to notify commitments to the WTO arising from the Agreement, under three categories:
Category A commitments are those that the Member will implement when the Agreement enters into force (or, in the case of LDCs, within one year after entry into force);
Category B indicates provisions that the Member will implement after a transitional period once the Agreement enters into force;
Category C specifies provisions requiring assistance and support for capacity building to allow the Member to implement them following a transitional period after the Agreement enters into force.For Category C commitments, each country concerned will seek from donor agencies the technical assistance and/or capacity building that it requires. Following such agreements, such a country must notify the WTO of its expected implementation date. As of 9 March 2015, 54 Members had notified the WTO of their Category A commitments.