The Results Of Year 2015 In The WTO: Progress, Achievements And Challenges

Author:Ms Anzhela Makhinova
Profession:Sayenko Kharenko

On 27 May 2016, the WTO Secretariat published the annual report covering the key developments of the world trade policy within the organization's framework in 2015. This year was marked with a number of important decisions, in particular those, adopted during the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference held in Nairobi, Kenya (Nairobi Package). In this newsletter, we would like to bring your attention to the world's top trade topics of 2015, which have major influence on the further development of international trade system and practice.

Trade facilitation

The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), as a part of a wider Bali Package of agreements, was adopted on 27 November 2014. As of the date of this newsletter, 82 WTO members ratified the TFA and presented their country's instrument of acceptance to the WTO Secretariat. According to the TFA, it will enter into force after being ratified by two-thirds of WTO members. This requires the ratification of the TFA by 108 countries of 162[1] WTO members.

The TFA will simplify and speed up global procedures for the movement of goods across borders and could reduce average trade costs by over 14 per cent. The TFA covers the issues of movement, release and clearance of goods, including those in transit. It also provides for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues as well as encompasses technical assistance and capacity building in this area. The Global Alliance for Trade Facilitation, a new public-private platform that seeks to use private sector expertise and resources to support trade facilitation reforms, was launched during the 10th WTO Ministerial Conference.

Regional liberalization

Ten new free trade agreements between WTO members were concluded in 2015 (according to the number of notifications to the WTO Council).  Among them the agreements between ASEAN and China; Hong Kong, China and Chile; Mexico and certain Central America countries.

Furthermore, the year 2015 was marked by the lasting process of negotiating large global trade agreements covering relations between major world powers in multiple economic sectors. The Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement (TPP) covering trade among 12 Pacific Rim countries was agreed on 5 October 2015 and was signed on 4 February 2016. Except for customs tariffs and market access issues, TPP governs a large number of issues including intellectual property, investor-state arbitration, digital economy, etc.

Other most notable negotiated free trade agreements of 2015 include the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (anticipated trade agreement...

To continue reading