Bangladesh is ‘actively considering’ to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) to allow an easy flow of goods and lowering the costs of doing business across borders.
“In order to become middle income country by 2021, Bangladesh has to ensure full facilitation for promotion of trade and investment,” said the editorial of the current news bulleting of the International Chamber of Commerce Bangladesh (ICCB) on Thursday. Dhaka, UNB news agency reported.
One of the major commitments of the TFA is the introduction of paperless business worldwide, which is expected to slash the cost of doing business by 10-15 percent, the ICCB said.
The cost of doing business, particularly in the least developed countries (LDCs) like Bangladesh is higher as importers and exporters have to pay extra money to avoid bureaucratic hassles at customs point, higher cost of transportation and processing other documents, it observed.
Trade facilitation has emerged as the key issue for cross-border trading in recent years.
In November 2014, WTO members adopted a Protocol of Amendment which is a necessary step towards making the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) an integral part of the WTO Agreements.
TFA was successfully negotiated at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013 as part of a wider set of ministerial decisions.
The TFA will be in effect with the ratification by at least two-third of the WTO members. So far, 72 countries have ratified the TFA.
Since WTO members have a shared interest in facilitating trade, the Agreement also breaks new ground in the way that it encourages and helps developing countries to implement their commitments.
It is the first WTO Agreement in which members determine their own implementation schedules and in which progress in implementation is explicitly linked to technical and financial capacity.
One frequently referenced report by the Peterson Institute estimates that trade facilitation reforms will expand global trade by as much as US$ 1 trillion annually.