Sri Lanka Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
31 May 2016
Sri Lanka has ratified the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA), submitting its instrument of acceptance on 31 May 2016. Mr. R.D. Susiri Kumararatne, Ambassador to WTO, Sri Lanka, presented Sri Lanka's instrument to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The TFA will maintain the country's competitiveness in global and naval trade.
On 31 July 2014, Sri Lanka submitted its Category A notification to the WTO, which indicates provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement.
Concluded at the WTO 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, it contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and Customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO's 162 members have formally accepted.
Implementation of the TFA is an important milestone for developing and least-developed countries. A first in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, assistance and support through a Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility is also provided to help developing countries and LDCs achieve that capacity.