International Port Community Systems Association welcomes ratification of historic Trade Facilitation Agreement

23 February 2017

The International Port Community Systems Association (IPCSA) has welcomed the ratification and entry into force of the World Trade Organization’s landmark Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which aims to streamline, simplify and standardise trade procedures and processes. 

This multilateral trade deal, first drawn up in 2013, entered into force on February 22, 2017, following its ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership.

"IPCSA congratulates the World Trade Organization for achieving such a historic agreement,” said

Hans Rook, chairman of IPCSA. “Now the work really starts, in terms of how countries are going to implement its content.

“Port Community Systems are there to support member states in bringing to reality the simplification that the TFA envisages. We can support and advise on the implementation of simple and efficient operational processes, the seamless transfer of information and data, and clear, simplified interfaces between trade and government systems.”

The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, and also sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and Customs compliance issues. Countries will be obliged to put into place certain measures such as coordination at the border, Single Window, publishing tariffs, pre-arrival processing and transit schemes. The TFA further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

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