Trade Facilitation in the Multilateral Trading System: Genesis, Course and Accord, 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Trade Facilitation in the Multilateral Trading System

Genesis, Course and Accord, 1st Edition

By Hao Wu


228 pages

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Hardback: 9781138605411
pub: 2018-07-06
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Negotiations on trade facilitation were concluded at the WTO 9th Ministerial Conference in 2013, and the Agreements on Trade Facilitation (TFA), therefore, became the first fully multilateral agreement in WTO history. Since then, trade facilitation has been in the limelight on the stage of the world trading system. During recent years, the TFA has been consistently on the agenda of the summits of G20, G7, and APEC. The Agreement has come into force and shall be implemented on a global scale. As a result, the WTO members shall be prepared to translate the Agreement into their domestic legislation, which will involve a series of reforms in trade laws and policies.

There are extensive voices demanding a comprehensive expatiation on trade facilitation and the TFA. It is essential to systematically delve into the genesis of trade facilitation, revisit the course where the TFA came into being, and analyse the well-turned legalese of the TFA. This book meets this demand.

This book is path-breaking in these aspects: it expounds on the rationales for trade facilitation and the significance of constituting an international accord on trade facilitation; it restores the one-century track of the international community’s talks on trade facilitation, from the times of the League of Nations to the WTO era; it reveals how the WTO negotiating mechanisms enabled the TFA to be nailed down, which would be enlightening for trade diplomats engaged in other WTO negotiations; and it provides an in-depth commentary on the TFA articles, which will help stakeholders more accurately understand and implement the Agreement.

This book will be especially valuable for government officials and policy-makers, trade practitioners, lawyers, advisers, and scholars interested in international economic law, WTO law, international trade, international relations, and international development studies.

Table of Contents

Table of Contents

Introduction: Time to delve into the genesis, course and accord of trade facilitation

1. Free trade is not for free

1.1 The calls for free trade

1.2 Free trade per se costs

1.3 Externality of trade cost

1.4 Cutting tariffs and NTMs for freer trade

1.4.1 The course of cutting tariffs

1.4.2 The course of cutting NTMs

2. Rise of trade facilitation

2.1 What after the cuts of tariffs and NTMs?

2.2 Rise of trade facilitation

2.3 Trade facilitation generates dividends

3. An international accord on trade facilitation?

3.1 Business community’s call for an international accord on trade facilitation

3.2 International accords on trade facilitation in history

3.3 A renovated accord for today?

3.4 Why the WTO?

3.4.1 Where is the suitable institution to administer this accord?

3.4.2 Knowing about the WTO

4. The long and arduous journey of trade facilitation in the WTO

4.1 1996 Singapore Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation kicked off

4.2 1998 Trade Facilitation Symposium: a leap to the phase of analytical work

4.3 1998 Geneva Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation in obscurity

4.4 1999 Seattle Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation brushed past

4.5 2001 Doha Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation vitalized

4.6 2003 Cancún Ministerial Conference: "Singapore issues" being an issue

4.7 2004 July General Council: trade facilitation negotiations eventually unveiled

4.8 2005 Hong Kong Ministerial Conference: negotiations keeping going

4.9 2009 Geneva Ministerial Conference: Doha Round ambitions vowed again

4.10 2011 Geneva Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation not a low-hanging fruit

4.11 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference: trade facilitation agreement sealed

4.12 Post-Bali Agenda: trade facilitation still on the road

5. Growth of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation: from a duck-yard-born egg to a swan

5.1 The Negotiating Group on Trade Facilitation: the hatchery

5.2 Groupings and conflicts

5.2.1 To negotiate vs. Not to negotiate

5.2.2 Binding vs. Non-binding

5.2.3 "Chicken" first vs. "Egg" first

5.3 The principles for organizing and managing the negotiations

5.3.1 Single undertaking

5.3.2 Inclusiveness

5.3.3 Transparency

5.3.4 Member-driven

5.4 The growth of an article

5.4.1 The first generation: general ideas

5.4.2 The second generation: textual proposals

5.4.3 The third generation: draft consolidated negotiating text

5.4.4 Final text in the TFA

6. A Commentary on the Agreement on Trade Facilitation

6.1 Structure of t the Agreement on Trade Facilitation

6.2 A commentary on Section I

6.3 A commentary on Section II

6.4 A commentary on Section III

7. A symphony of trade facilitation

7. 1 Recitals by Annex D organizations

7.1.1 International Monetary Fund (IMF) Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM)

7.1.2 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs)

7.1.3 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD) Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA) Port Training Programme under TrainForTrade National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFBs) Assistance in transit Business Facilitation Programme

7.1.4 World Customs Organization (WCO) Mercator Programme Revised Kyoto Convention Nairobi Convention Support to the WTO negotiations

7.1.5 World Bank Trade Facilitation Support Programme (TFSP) Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF) Support to the WTO negotiations Logistics Performance Index (LPI) Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessment (TTFA)

7.2 A symphony of trade facilitation

Conclusion: The road ahead of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation




About the Author

Hao Wu is currently working at the World Customs Organization (WCO), Belgium. Prior to joining the WCO, he served as a trade negotiator on the WTO Trade Facilitation Negotiations for a number of years.

About the Series

Routledge Research in International Economic Law

The growing integration of the world economy and resulting increases in cross-border economic exchanges has been accompanied by the rapid growth of law and regulation governing these interactions. This series presents cutting-edge research in international economic law, offering fresh perspectives on what is a fast developing field.

The series surveys the key areas of international economic law: international trade law; international investment law; international financial regulation and monetary law; and related aspects of intellectual property law. Linkages with other international legal regimes are explored such as environmental law, human rights, and public health, highlighting areas where tensions may occur between economic liberalisation, sovereignty and other concerns. Books will investigate the theory, policy and practice of international economic law from a broad range of approaches allowing for innovative and scholarly assessments of the international economic legal order.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / International / Economics
LAW / General
LAW / Commercial / International Trade
LAW / International
POLITICAL SCIENCE / International Relations / Trade & Tariffs