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US$3.6 trillion boost from trade agreement

GENEVA: A report by the World Trade Organization says the 2013 Bali Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to reduce trade costs by 14.3 percent and increase global exports from US$750 billion to US$3.6 trillion, depending on the speed and extent of implementation.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.

The report estimates the TFA could add up to 2.7 percent a year to world export growth and more than half a percent a year to world GDP growth over the next 15 years.

WTO TFAThe WTO modeling suggests developing countries' exports could increase by US$1.9 trillion (making up more than 53 percent of global trade expansion) and the TFA has the potential to add 0.9 percent annually to economic growth in developing countries.

The report estimates that if the TFA is fully implemented, developing countries will be able to diversify and increase the number of new export products by 20 per cent, enter new markets and sell a wider array of products.

The 2015 World Trade Report is the first detailed study of the TFA and its multilateral framework for reducing trade costs.

To date 51 WTO members have ratified the TFA. They include Pakistan, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Hong Kong China, Singapore, the U.S., Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, and the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states).

In a related move the UK is contributing £500,000 to help developing and least-developed countries implement the TFA. This is part of a broader £180 million commitment Britain has made to support trade facilitation in these countries, through bilateral, regional and multilateral programmes.

Julian Braithwaite, ambassador to the WTO commented: "The UK is a major 'Aid for Trade' donor, contributing over £1 billion a year to help developing and least-developed countries to trade regionally and internationally. Our support will contribute to improving coordination and coherence among the various agencies and programs helping WTO members implement the TFA."

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