Joann Peterson


On February 22, 2017, the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) entered into force following ratification by a required two-thirds majority (or 110) of the WTO’s 164 members. By September 2020, 93.3 percent, or 153 WTO members, had ratified specific provisions in the TFA, setting the stage for full implementation of the agreement. The agreement has three main objectives: to expedite the release of goods that cross international borders; to improve cooperation among customs authorities; and to provide technical assistance and capacity building (TACB) on customs and trade facilitation matters to developing countries and least-developed countries (LDCs). Once implemented, the TFA is anticipated to expand the depth and scope of global trade, especially among developing countries and LDCs. This article provides an overview of the TFA, reviews its implementation status by country and by category, and examines next steps for full implementation of the agreement by TFA members, including progress towards capacity building.