Great hope has been placed on the Trade Facilitation Agreement. How could it support the objective of doubling LDCs’ share of world trade by 2020?
The Aid for Trade (AfT) initiative launched at the WTO’s 2005 Hong-Kong ministerial meeting has been successful at raising funds. But after five biennial reviews, showing that AfT flows have helped countries build their supply-side capacities has proved elusive. Great hope has been placed on the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) protocol signed in November 2014. The TFA should result in a move towards results-based AfT and is expected to generate gains from reduced trade costs which should benefit mostly low-income countries (LICs), particularly least developed countries (LDCs) and landlocked LDCs. As such, it could prove instrumental in progressing towards the Istanbul Program of Action’s (IPoA) target that calls for a doubling of LDCs’ share in global exports by 2020, which has been reaffirmed in the Sustainable Development Goals (Goal 17, target 11). As 34 of the 48 LDCs are African countries, the effective application of the TFA’s disciplines could thus have an extremely positive impact for the continent.
De Melo, J. and Wagner, L. (2016) "How the Trade Facilitation Agreement can help reduce trade costs for LDCs", Bridges Africa: Trade facilitation: A priority for the continent? , Vol. 17 (6), July 2016.