Bangladesh to ratify crucial WTO deal
Bangladesh is ready to ratify the trade facilitation agreement of the World Trade Organisation, committing to an easy flow of goods across borders and lowering the costs of doing business, the commerce ministry said yesterday.
“We are preparing to ratify the TFA,” said Hedayetullah Al Mamoon, senior commerce secretary.
The WTO adopted the TFA in its ninth ministerial conference in Bali in December 2013 to save money and time spent on international trade by simplifying the rules of customs and tariff.
The TFA will be put in place once two-thirds of the 162 WTO members formally accept the agreement, according to the Bali Declaration of the WTO.
So far, 57 countries have ratified the TFA.
Brazil was the latest country to ratify the deal on March 29 during a visit of Roberto Azevedo, director general of the WTO.
The TFA is about simplifying and standardising the customs procedures, reducing the time and costs of moving goods across borders, Azevedo said in a statement.
“We expect that, when fully implemented, the agreement could reduce trade costs by an average of 14.5 percent.”
For developing economies, this could mean a boost in exports of almost $730 billion per year.
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 cost of doing business, particularly in the least-developed countries, is higher as importers and exporters have to pay extra money as bribe in customs, transportation and to process other documents.
Developing countries will benefit significantly from the TFA, capturing more than half of the available gains, according to the WTO's flagship World Trade Report, released on October 26 in Geneva last year. If the TFA is implemented properly, exports from developing countries are estimated to increase between $170 billion and $730 billion, while that of developed economies between $310 billion and $580 billion a year, according to the WTR.
Fuller and faster implementation of the TFA will also boost the overall world export growth by up to 2.7 percent and global GDP growth by 0.5 percent, the report added.
The TFA is expected to help the developing countries diversify their exports as well, the WTR said.
If the TFA is fully implemented, developing countries could increase the number of new products being exported by as much as 20 percent. The LDCs are likely to see a much bigger hike of up to 35 percent.