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Latin America Urged To Grasp Full Benefits Of TFA

by Mike Godfrey,, Washington

20 July 2015

The World Trade Organization (WTO) recently hosted a conference in Panama to raise awareness of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) among Latin American parliamentarians.

The event gathered over 30 parliamentarians from all over Latin America. It highlighted the potential benefits of the Agreement for the region and underlined the need for speedy ratification and ambitious implementation.

The TFA will create binding commitments across all WTO members to expedite the movement, release, and clearance of goods and improve cooperation among WTO members in customs matters, forming part of international efforts under the Doha Round to cut tax barriers to trade on a global basis. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help least-developed countries (LDCs) implement the TFA.

In a statement the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) emphasized the critical need for business and governments to work side by side to cement opportunities the TFA will bring for development, job creation and poverty reduction. "Although for many countries in Latin America the idea of customs-business partnerships is still relatively new, it is essential that countries move forward in working with the private sector on common objectives," Lucia Soto, representative of the ICC Guatemala Commission on Customs and Trade Facilitation, said.

In order to fully capture the benefits of TFA provisions, the ICC recommended that four key points stay at the top of governments' agendas: business engagement, ambition, speed and a coherent approach to implementation.

The ICC noted that 103 ratifications are still required for the TFA to enter into force.

The Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) has estimated full implementation of the agreement will reduce trade costs by 16.5 percent for low-income countries, 17.4 percent for lower-middle income countries, and 14.6 percent for upper-middle income countries.

TAGS: tax | business | export duty | tariffs | World Trade Organisation (WTO) | Guatemala | import duty | trade | Panama

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