Trade Facilitation Agreement PDF: Understanding the Basics

The World Trade Organization (WTO) is the global organization that deals with the rules of trade between nations. It was established on January 1, 1995, and has since then been an important platform for countries to negotiate and develop trade policies that work for everyone. One of the significant agreements to come out of the WTO is the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). This agreement seeks to simplify customs procedures, reduce trade costs and make trading across borders more efficient.

What is the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)?

The TFA was agreed upon on December 7, 2013, and entered into force on February 22, 2017. The agreement`s main goal is to reduce the cost of doing business by simplifying customs procedures and bolstering transparency. The TFA seeks to streamline the flow of goods across borders while also reducing corruption and opportunities for fraud.

The agreement is comprehensive, outlining detailed and specific steps that will help simplify import, export, and transit procedures. The 164 member countries of the WTO agreed on the content of the agreement, making the TFA the first multilateral agreement to be concluded since the WTO was established in 1995.

What does the Trade Facilitation Agreement cover?

The Trade Facilitation Agreement covers three key areas:

1. Simplification and Harmonization of Customs Procedures: This includes simplifying customs documentation requirements, adopting digital systems and electronic payments, and improving coordination between the different agencies involved in customs clearance procedures.

2. Improved Transparency: This includes ensuring that customs laws, regulations, and procedures are publicly available and easy to understand, and establishing systems for advance rulings and appeals.

3. Special and Differential Treatment for Developing Countries: This includes technical assistance and capacity building for developing countries to help them implement the provisions of the agreement.

Trade Facilitation Agreement PDF – Benefits for businesses

The Trade Facilitation Agreement brings significant benefits to businesses, both large and small, that are involved in international trade. By simplifying customs procedures, reducing the time and cost involved in border clearance, and increasing transparency, the TFA can make trade more efficient and profitable. The agreement will also reduce trade-related corruption, which is often a significant barrier to trade.

The TFA is particularly beneficial for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in developing countries, which often face significant trade barriers due to their lack of resources and capacity. By simplifying customs procedures, the TFA can help SMEs to access new markets, trade more efficiently, and expand their businesses.


The Trade Facilitation Agreement is an important agreement that seeks to simplify customs procedures, reduce trade costs, and increase transparency. The agreement creates an environment that enables businesses, particularly small and medium-sized enterprises, to trade more efficiently, access new markets and expand their businesses. By creating a predictable and transparent trading environment, the TFA also helps to increase investment and economic growth. The Trade Facilitation Agreement PDF is readily accessible online for interested parties to access and understand what the agreement entails.