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3 more ratifications after Nigeria’ll would bring WTO’s TFA into force

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Following Nigeria’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), making it the 107th World Trade Organisation (WTO) member to do so, the world is now waiting for only three more ratifications from members to achieve the two-third threshold that would bring the TFA into force.

In a statement by the Strategic Communications Adviser to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Constance Ikokwu shows that in addition to Nigeria, some other African countries that have ratified the deal are Botswana, Niger, Togo, Côte d’Ivoire, Kenya, Zambia, Lesotho, Mali, Senegal, Swaziland, Gabon, Ghana and Mozambique.

Nigeria’s instrument of acceptance, was submitted to the WTO by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah.

The Minister met with the WTO Director-General, Roberto Azevêdo, at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, to submit the endorsement.

Enelamah said “Nigeria’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement is a reflection of our commitment to the WTO and a rules-based economy. It is evidence of President Muhammadu Buhari’s commitment to rapidly implement his presidential initiative on the creation of an enabling environment for business.

“Nigeria will like to see a strengthened WTO that reflects the development principles of developing countries like Nigeria, and we praise the effectiveness of DG Azevêdo in this regard.”

Specifications obtained from the WTO indicate that the TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the agreement and ratification is a means of expression for a country to be legally bound by a treaty.

The initial deal was sealed during the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference; the TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit.

Whereas it contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area, it also sets out measures for effective cooperation between Customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and Customs compliance issues.

According to a 2015 study carried out by the WTO economists, the full implementation of the TFA will reduce members’ trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries having the most to gain.

Part of the conditions has the ability to reduce the time to import goods by over a day and a half, while also reducing the time to export by almost two days, representing a reduction of 47 per cent and 91 per cent, respectively over the current average. The TFA also has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1tn.


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