Nepal Parliament Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement
13 January 2017
Nepal’s Parliament ratified the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on 13 January 2017, drawing up the instrument of acceptance for the Protocol Amending the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the WTO to insert the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation into the annex of the WTO Agreement.
The WTO TFA aims to
- Reduce trade transaction costs by providing simple and prompt services in the movement of cargo across borders;
- Improve governance through promotion of transparent and appropriate legal frameworks in the Customs system; and
- Ensure transit rights of landlocked countries.
Implementation of the TFA will help expand trade and attract foreign direct investment in Nepal by increasing transparency, competitiveness, and effectiveness of the trading process. It is expected to contribute substantially to the introduction of trade sector reforms through trade facilitation at a time when Nepal’s export growth has slowed due to high transaction costs and a diminishing competitive edge, owing to supply side constraints in the country.
Nepal played a constructive role in the adoption of the Agreement during the WTO Ninth Ministerial Conference Meeting in December 2013 in Bali, Indonesia, as Convener representing least development countries (LDCs).
This Agreement will enter into force once 2/3s of WTO members ratify the Agreement. To date, 107 out of 164 WTO member countries have already been ratified the Agreement. Among member countries of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, India, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka, have already ratified the WTO TFA.
The Government of Nepal, with support from the Asian Development Bank, is carrying out several trade facilitation initiatives, such as implementation of e-Customs, Customs Reform and Modernization Strategies and Action Plan 2017-2021, legislative reform, trade-related infrastructure construction, and the improvement of services and information for traders, stakeholders, and investors through various means.