Entry into Force of the Agreement on Trade Facilitation
February 22, 2017
1. On February 22, the Protocol of Amendment to insert the Agreement on Trade Facilitation (hereinafter referred to as the “Trade Facilitation Agreement”) into the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization (hereinafter referred to as the “WTO Agreement”) entered into force upon acceptance by 110 World Trade Organization (WTO) Members, which corresponds to two-thirds of all WTO Members, for the WTO Members that have accepted the Protocol, pursuant to the provision of the WTO Agreement.
2. The Protocol amends the WTO Agreement to insert the Agreement on Trade Facilitation into Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement. The Trade Facilitation Agreement was the first newly established agreement adopted by all WTO Members since the foundation of the WTO in 1995. Its objectives are to enhance transparency of and expedite customs-related procedures.
3. The implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement is expected to improve the issues Japanese companies frequently face at export destinations, such as lack of transparency in trade procedures and arbitrary operations, and support trade and other economic activities by Japanese companies, which not only export finished goods, but also develop supply chains on a global scale. In addition, its implementation is expected to help developing countries to promote trade and investment by reducing the trade transaction costs as well as to prevent illegal imports and to improve the collection of customs duties.
(1) World trade Organization
The World Trade Organization (WTO) is an international organization established on January 1, 1995 following an agreement on establishment in 1994 as an outcome of the Uruguay Round. The WTO Agreement defines international rules related to trade. The WTO implements and manages agreements and addresses new trade issues, and thereby, serves as the core of the multilateral trade regime.
“Countries” in the WTO Agreement include independent tariff regions that are WTO Members.
(2) Protocol Amending the Marrakesh Agreement Establishing the World Trade Organization(ⅰ) The Protocol was adopted at the General Council of the WTO on November 28, 2014 (November 27 local time).
(ⅱ) Japan accepted it on June 1, 2015.
(ⅲ) The Protocol enters into force for WTO Members that accepted it upon acceptance by two-thirds of all WTO Members pursuant to Article X: 3 of the WTO Agreement and it subsequently enters into force for other WTO Members upon their acceptance. WTO Agreement Article X: 3
3. Amendments to provisions of this Agreement, or of the Multilateral Trade Agreements in Annexes 1A and 1C, other than those listed in paragraphs 2 and 6, of a nature that would alter the rights and obligations of the Members, shall take effect for the Members that have accepted them upon acceptance by two thirds of the Members and thereafter for each other Member upon acceptance by it. (The rest omitted)