GENEVA — Implementation of the global trade facilitation agreement aimed at reducing processing and expediting the movement and clearance of goods could boost world merchandise exports by 9.1 percent up to a 28.7 percent annually, worth $1.1 trillion to $3.6 trillion a year, a World Trade Organization report said Monday.
It could also add 0.3 percent to 0.5 percent a year to world economic growth, or $345 billion to $555 billion, the WTO said.
Roberto Azevêdo, WTO director-general, said the report “provides new evidence of the significant boost that the agreement will provide by expanding world trade, reducing costs and helping developing and least-developed countries to integrate into an increasingly globalized production system.”
The study, the first detailed analysis by the WTO of the potential impacts of the TFA, also concludes that full implementation has the potential to reduce time to export “by almost two days” and time to import “by over a day and a half,” notes the “World Trade Report 2015: Speeding Up Trade” study.
It also highlights that trade facilitation “is critical to reduce trade costs, which remain high despite the steep decline in the cost of transportation, improvements in information and communications technology, and the reduction of trade barriers in many countries.”
The WTO estimates full implementation could reduce global trade costs of the organization’s 161 members “by an average of 14.5 percent,” but adds that least-developed countries, which includes apparel exporters Bangladesh and Cambodia, are expected to see the biggest average reductions, of around 16.7 percent.
“Developing economies should get the lion’s share of the benefits,” said Coleman Nee, senior WTO economist.
The agreement, the only one to emerge so far from the troubled Doha Round of liberalization talks since they were launched back in 2001, also contains provisions mandating nations to publish and make available essential information on border procedures, and to decrease and simplify documentation requirements.
China and the U.S. are among the 50 WTO members that have ratified the 2013 accord agreed by trade ministers in Bali in December 2013 during the organization’s biannual trade summit. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of members have ratified the pact.