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
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
5.4 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)
22.214.171.124 Trade Integration Mechanism (TIM)
7.1.2 Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
126.96.36.199 Trade Facilitation Indicators (TFIs)
7.1.3 United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD)
188.8.131.52 Automated System for Customs Data (ASYCUDA)
184.108.40.206 Port Training Programme under TrainForTrade
220.127.116.11 National Trade Facilitation Bodies (NTFBs)
18.104.22.168 Assistance in transit
22.214.171.124 Business Facilitation Programme
7.1.4 World Customs Organization (WCO)
126.96.36.199 Mercator Programme
188.8.131.52 Revised Kyoto Convention
184.108.40.206 Nairobi Convention
220.127.116.11 Support to the WTO negotiations
7.1.5 World Bank
18.104.22.168 Trade Facilitation Support Programme (TFSP)
22.214.171.124 Trade Facilitation Facility (TFF)
126.96.36.199 Support to the WTO negotiations
188.8.131.52 Logistics Performance Index (LPI)
184.108.40.206 Trade and Transport Facilitation Assessment (TTFA)
7.2 A symphony of trade facilitation
Conclusion: The road ahead of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation
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