Trade Facilitation. WTO Doha Round & South Asia: Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations. Sanath Jayanetti Institute of Policy Studies. Outline. Background & Definitions Identification of trade facilitation needs and priorities Costs and benefits of trade facilitation measures
WTO Doha Round & South Asia:
Linking Civil Society with Trade Negotiations
Institute of Policy Studies
Today we have,
Trade Facilitation – the plumbing
Can be achieved through automation, applying modern risk analysis techniques, transport procedures, etc.
Source: Trade Facilitation from a Developing Country Perspective, National Board of Trade, Sweden, 2003
Organizations that deal with trade facilitation:
A key feature of SAARC economic cooperation. Already established,
Framework Agreement on SAFTA (Jan 2004) has made provision for trade facilitation measures under Article 8 (Additional Measures). Some of measures are:
The political will to implement trade facilitation measures seem to be lacking in the region.
Substantial initial investment, varies according to the level of reforms needed and existing infrastructure. But, considerable improvement can be made within the existing framework w/o incurring heavy capital investments through, inter-alia:
Source: Wickramasinghe, Upali “A multilateral Approach to Trade Facilitation in South Asia,” SAWTEE
The flow of activities from clearing a shipment to returning the empty container – Sri Lanka
1.Clearing the shipment at the port (late morning/afternoon)
2.Transportation of shipment to destination (afternoon)
3.De-stuffing at destination (afternoon)
4.Return of empty container and truck to trucking yard (by this time office hours have ended) – extra charge after office hours
5.Overnight parking of the container and truck at trucking yard
6.Return of empty container to assigned area of the shipping line (following day morning)
7.Return of the truck to port to attend to another shipment (following day late morning/afternoon)
Relevant GATT Articles & WTO Agreements include:
GATS and TRIPS also include some trade facilitation measures. GATT Article XXIV (Customs Unions and Free Trade Areas) would also affect trade facilitation.
Article V – freedom of transit of goods through the most convenient route, no unnecessary delays and restrictions, no levies (such as customs duties) only for services provided
Article VIII – fees charged for import and export must be limited to cost of services, minimize the incidence and complexity of import and export formalities, need for decreasing and simplifying import export documentation requirements
Article X – prompt publication of laws, regulations and decisions relating to import and export, laws relating to trade must be administered in uniform, impartial and reasonable manner and there must be provision for judicial review of administrative decisions
Became one of the four Singapore issues
Doha Ministerial Declaration states that “…In the period until the Fifth Sessions, the Council for Trade in Goods shall review and as appropriate, clarify and improve relevant aspects of Articles V, VIII and X of GATT 1994 and identify the trade facilitation needs and priorities of members, in particular developing and least-developed countries. We commit ourselves to ensuring adequate technical assistance and support for capacity building in this area.”
Work program concentrated on three main areas:
Developing countries were of the view that they prefer TF measures to be handled autonomously and the need to address the implications of binding rules and human and financial resources, as well as difference in level of developments.
Cancun Ministerial 2003, no declaration, Ministerial Statement.
Doha Ministerial Declaration and the WTO General Council Decision of July 2004 (July Package) constitute the combined framework of current negotiations. (Doha Work Program, Decision Adopted by the General Council on 1 August 2004; WT/L/579)
In the July Package it was decided to start negotiation for an agreement in the area of TF and drop the other three Singapore issues from the Doha negotiations.
Modalities were given in Annex D of the July Package. Key issues are:
Since the July Package three meetings have been held of the Negotiating Group of TF at the WTO. (Last one on 7,9 Feb 2005)
Developing and LDCs institutional improvements would require, in addition to very high costs, sustained effort over a long period, and countries at different stages of development have different needs, priorities, and capacities to implement global rules.
Almost the entirety of Annex D of the July Package “Modalities for Negotiations on Trade Facilitation” is on making use of the SDT provision for developing and LDC countries. Proper implementation is the key issue.
At the third meeting (since the July Package) of the WTO Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation on 7 and 9 February:
Source: TWN Report by Goh Chien Yen
Some of the issues raised by the Core Group (19 developing countries)
African Group stated that
Members agree to "clarify and improve relevant aspects of Articles V , VIII and X of the GATT 1994 with a view to further expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit,"
Taiwan, Korea & Japan