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Target for 2016
This document sets out the Work Plan for the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF or the Facility) for 2016. Detailed information on the operation of the Facility can be found in the Operational Guidelines that were issued on 25 June 2015.
The activities in this work plan have the primary goal of assisting developing and least developed country Members to: 1) ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement, 2) submit TFA Section II notifications, 3) find assistance for implementation of the trade facilitation measures.
As of 30 November 2015, 53 countries had submitted their instrument of acceptance (ratification) of the Agreement, 76 Countries had submitted their category A notifications. No category B or C commitments had been notified.
The new WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility was created at the request of WTO developing and least developed country (LDC) Members to help ensure that they receive the support they need to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA or the Agreement).
The activities funded by this trust fund will fall within the scope of the TFA Facility Operational Guidelines that were issued on 25 June 2015. The planned activities are based on the needs expressed by WTO developing and LDC Members. As these needs change the activities conducted by the Facility will change in order to meet the goal of supporting members in their implementation of the Agreement. It is our intention that this work plan will allow for this flexibility.
The Facility is funded by donor Members through the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility Trust Fund. Implementation of the activities in this work plan will also require cooperation from development partners operating at international, regional and national levels.
Activities to be conducted in 2016
A. Matchmaking and funding activities
Task 1: Matchmaking activities
The WTO Secretariat will work with Members facing challenges in accessing information and/or obtaining assistance. It will assist these Members to find donor Members and/or international and regional organizations, to address these challenges and find solutions. To identify these challenges the WTO Secretariat will continue an existing one-on-one program that aims to meet with each developing and LDC Member that will need implementation support.
Task 2: Development of rules and procedures for the operation of TFAF grant funding operations
In 2016, the WTO Secretariat will develop operational rules for grant funding operations to be undertaken through the TFAF as well as the associated oversight/advisory committee operations. This will involve the development of procedures and operational rules for the review, approval and monitoring of project preparation and implementation grants, and associated on-line application forms. All information, including application forms, will be available through the Facility website.
B. Activities related to ratification and special and differential treatment notifications and identification of implementation support
Task 3: National workshops
Requests for general workshops on trade facilitation should be submitted to the WTO ITTC following their normal procedures.
For Members needing assistance at a more technical level, such as finalizing ABC categories, or workshops for Parliamentarians, the Facility can assist Members to find this support.
Task 4: Regional Workshops
At the request of regional secretariats/organizations the WTO Secretariat will conduct workshop that aim to: Workshops conducted at the regional and/or sub-regional level will aim to assist the national members of regional organizations in ratification of the TFA, notification of ABC commitments and operation of national TF committees. They could also include a segment dedicated to outreach with development partners.
Task 5: National needs assessments
Most WTO Members have already conducted a needs assessment, either through the WTO or a partner organization. However, the needs assessment program will continue to be available for newly acceded WTO Members or Members that have never conducted an assessment. It is our expectation that this program will be discontinued after 2016 for all but requests received from countries in accession.
C. Implementation support and capacity
Task 6: Development and delivery of advanced Trade Facilitation Course
An advanced training course on trade facilitation for national officials will be developed and offered in 2016. The course will be based on the model used for the advanced SPS course and will focus on capacity building of officials.
Task 7: Training materials and TFAF website
One of the primary roles of the Facility is to act as a portal for information on implementation of the TFA measures and sources of implementation support. To fulfil this role the Facility website (www.TFAFacility.org) provides case studies and training materials for most of the measures in the Agreement. It also publishes donor information that will assist Members to identify possible development partners and aid with donor coherence. In addition, it provides developing and LDC Members' national trade facilitation contact points, news and TF related events as well as up-to date information on notifications and ratifications.
The WTO Secretariat will continue to add case studies, training materials, and international standards and guidelines on best practices in the implementation of trade facilitation measures to the website.
In addition, the Secretariat will begin working with a web design firm to develop more complex tools and features, such as a more advanced search engine and a link to information on trade facilitation implementation information on the OECD Creditor Reporting System database, as well as making improvements identified by the website's users.
D. Outreach and promotion activities
Task 8: TFAF promotion and coherence activities
The WTO Secretariat will continue to participate in events that are organized by other organizations. The aim of our participation will be to conduct outreach and training on the WTO Agreement and/or the Facility and support our partner organizations. These events include the World Customs Organization TFA Working Group meetings, donor conferences, etc.
In addition, the WTO Secretariat will continue to organize meetings with Annex D + organizations and donor Members to encourage the coordination and cooperation of implementation support.