Secretary General of the WTO, Robert Azevedo (left) and Ambassador to the United Nations and Other International Organisations, Bentley Gibbs, pose for a photograph following the signing of the Trade Facilitation Agreement. (GP)

Barbados has ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) on Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).

The instrument of ratification was formally handed over by Ambassador to the United Nations and Other International Organisations, Bentley Gibbs, to Secretary General of  the WTO, Robert Azevedo, in Geneva, Switzerland, recently.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement is the first major agreement concluded by all members of the WTO since the establishment of that body in 1995.  It contains provisions to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods at the border. The provisions of the TFA aim to improve transparency in transactions and reduce the scope for corruption.

The TFA is unique because it provides special and differential treatment for developing countries. It allows for greater country ownership, giving countries the ability to determine the pace of implementation of the provisions of the Agreement.

It also increases Barbados’ possibility to participate in global value chains and provides for technical assistance and capacity building in order to effectively implement the Agreement.

As a signatory to the Agreement, Barbados is now in a position to engage donors and other members that have pledged to provide assistance under the Agreement.

This ratification is another step in the development of a national Trade Facilitation Roadmap to identify priority reform measures to be mapped to donor interest areas.

Additionally, implementation of the TFA will enable Barbados to remedy existing barriers to trade and investment facilitation and redound to the benefit of the local business community.

The full implementation of the TFA is estimated to reduce global trade costs.  Furthermore, the TFA is forecast to add up to 2.7 per cent a year to world export growth and more than 0.5 per cent a year to world GDP growth by 2030.

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