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WTO TFA NOTIFICATIONS – A GENERAL OVERVIEW

The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) requires Members to provide a number of notifications to the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee. All notifications are publicly available through the WTO.org and TFADatabase.org websites.

On this page you will find general information on the notifications that must be provided to the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee. Notification templates and information on how to prepare the notifications and examples from Members' notifications can be found on the How to Prepare Notifications page. [link]

Useful Information:

Notification templates and information on how to prepare the notifications can be found here.

Submit notifications, (or drafts), to the WTO Secretariat at: wtotradefacilitation@gmail.com

To see your country's current notification status, or see how other Members have notified you can find all notifications here (click on the Member and go to bottom of the page)

Statistics on notifications can be found here.

A WTO brochure outlining the transparency notifications and deadlines can be found here: [download brochure]

A brochure outlining the ABC notifications and deadlines can be found here: [download brochure]

ABC Notification Template with TACB Examples for Each Provision: [download document]

Examples of Technical Assistance and Capacity Building Needs from Member Notifications: [download document]

A list of TF Enquiry points can be found here

A list of Customs Cooperation Contact Points can be found here.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement Notification Requirements

1. TFA Section I Requirements (Section I contains the trade facilitation provisions)

The transparency notification requirements oblige all WTO Members to provide information about their implementation of six provisions in the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Namely on publication, internet publication, enquiry points, use of customs brokers, single window and customs cooperation.

2. TFA Section II Requirements (Section II contains the special and differential treatment provisions)

ABC-Related Notifications
Any developing and least-developed Member requiring additional time and assistance to implement the TFA must provide a series of notifications providing information on when they will implement each provision and their implementation assistance needs.

These Members must also notify arrangements with donors and progress on this support.

A Member may also request an extension of its notified implementation dates or to shift categories.

Information on Assistance and Support for Capacity Building
Each donor Member that is assisting developing or least-developed Members to implement the TFA provisions must notify information about its assistance and support for capacity building.

Each developing and least-developed Member requiring assistance to implement the TFA must notify contact information of the office(s) responsible for coordinating and prioritizing assistance and support.

 

The TFA Notification Requirements:

TRANSPARENCY NOTIFICATIONS - (Articles 1.4, 10.4, 10.6, and 12)

There are six sub-articles in the WTO Agreement that require all Members to provide information about how they are implementing the article/provision or to provide contact point information. These are the so-called transparency notifications. They are set out in Articles 1.4 (a) – (c), 10.4.3, 10.6.2, and 12.2. Details on each one can be found below.

Who must notify: All WTO Members

Due: Each transparency notification is due according to the implementation timeline of each Member. For developing and LDC Members if any of the relevant provisions are notified in category A, the transparency notification is due as soon as the TFA enters into force for that Member. If any of the relevant provisions are notified in category B or C, then they are due in accordance with the date established by the Member.

Statistics: Statistics, charts and graphs of the current status of the transparency notifications can be found on the TFA Database here.

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here

Lists of Members that have already provided their transparency notifications can be found here:
Article 1.4: https://tfadatabase.org/notifications/transparency/1-4?designation=all
Article 10.4.3: https://tfadatabase.org/notifications/transparency/10-4-3?designation=all
Article 10.6.2: https://tfadatabase.org/notifications/transparency/10-6-2?designation=all
Article 12.2: https://tfadatabase.org/notifications/transparency/12-2?designation=all

A United States Communication on Developing the Article 1.4 Notifications can be found here [download document]

A list of TF Enquiry points can be found here.

Article 1.4 (a) - Publication

Article 1.4 (a)

(a) Each Member shall notify the Committee of the official place(s) where the items in Article 1.1 subparagraphs (a) to (j) have been published;

Article 1.1 subparagraphs (a) to (j) specify the type of information that must be published.

Article 1.1

(a) procedures for importation, exportation, and transit (including port, airport, and other entry-point procedures), and required forms and documents;
(b) applied rates of duties and taxes of any kind imposed on or in connection with importation or exportation;
(c) fees and charges imposed by or for governmental agencies on or in connection with importation, exportation or transit;
(d) rules for the classification or valuation of products for customs purposes;
(e) laws, regulations, and administrative rulings of general application relating to rules of origin;
(f) import, export or transit restrictions or prohibitions;
(g) penalty provisions for breaches of import, export, or transit formalities;
(h) procedures for appeal or review;
(i) agreements or parts thereof with any country or countries relating to importation, exportation, or transit; and
(j) procedures relating to the administration of tariff quotas.

Article 1.4 (b) - Internet Publication

Article 1.4 (b)

(b) Each Member shall notify to the Committee the Uniform Resource Locators of website(s) referred to in paragraph 2.1.

Paragraph 2.1 requires each Member to publish on the internet a description of the procedures and practical steps required for import, export, transit, appeal or review; as well as internet publication of the required forms and documents.

Paragraph 2.1
Each Member shall make available, and update to the extent possible and as appropriate, the following through the internet:

(a) a description of its procedures for importation, exportation, and transit, including procedures for appeal or review, that informs governments, traders, and other interested parties of the practical steps needed for importation, exportation, and transit;
(b) the forms and documents required for importation into, exportation from, or transit through the territory of that Member;
(c) contact information on its enquiry point(s). (See also Article 1.4(c) notification requirement.)

Article 1.4 (c) - Enquiry Points

Article 1.4 (c)

(c) Each Member shall notify to the Committee the contact information of the enquiry points referred to in paragraph 3.1.

Article 3.1
Each Member shall, within its available resources, establish or maintain one or more enquiry points to answer reasonable enquiries of governments, traders, and other interested parties on matters covered by paragraph 1.1 and to provide the required forms and documents referred to in subparagraph 1.1(a).

A list of national trade facilitation enquiry points can be found here.

Article 10.4 - Single Window

Article 10.4.3 Members shall notify the Committee of the details of operation of the single window.

Article 10.4 requires Members to endeavour to establish a single window that will allow traders to submit required documents/data for importation, exportation, or transit of goods through a single entry point to the participating authorities or agencies. Sub-article 10.4.3 requires Members to notify information about the operation of this single window.

Article 10.6 - Use of Customs Brokers

Article 10.6.2 Each Member shall notify the Committee and publish its measures on the use of customs brokers. Any subsequent modifications thereof shall be notified and published promptly.

Under Article 10.6 Members cannot introduce the mandatory use of customs brokers. Sub-article 10.6.2 requires Members to notify and publish its measures on the use of customs brokers.

Article 12 - Customs Cooperation

Article 12.2.2 Each Member shall notify the details of its contact point for the exchange of customs information.

Article 12 requires each Member to provide information to another Member on import and export declarations or supporting documents to assist the requesting Member to verify declarations for which it has reasonable doubt about the truth or accuracy. This information is exchanged upon request and under certain specified conditions. Sub-article 12.2.2 requires each Member to notify the details of its contact point for the exchange of this information.

A list of Customs Cooperation Contact Points can be found here.

SPECIAL AND DIFFERENTIAL TREATMENT - (ABC RELATED NOTIFICATIONS)

Articles 14-16 – ABC Related Notifications

Articles 14-16 set out a number of notification requirements for developing and LDC Members that require additional time and assistance to implement the trade facilitation provisions that are set out in TFA Section I. These provisions also contain deadlines for each type of notification. All notification deadlines have already passed for developing Members, however, least developed countries have longer time periods. (See chart below.)

To complete these notification requirements a Member must categorize each provision (article or sub-article) of the TFA into one of 3 categories.

  • Category A – the provisions it was already implementing when the TFA entered into force (or upon notification, if after),
  • Category B – the provisions for which it needs more time,
  • Category C- the provisions for which it needs additional time and assistance.

For all provisions notified in categories B and C the Member must provide the date when it will implement the provision. Members can first provide indicative dates but then definitive implementation dates must be provided.

For provisions notified in category C, the Member must provide information on the type of assistance and support for capacity building that it would need in order to implement the provision.

Who must notify: any developing or least developed Member that requires additional time and assistance to implement the TFA provisions.

Statistics: https://tfadatabase.org/notifications/implementation/global-status

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here: https://tfadatabase.org/members

Lists of Members that have already provided their notifications can be found here.

Due

ABC Notification Requirements and Deadlines for Developing Members

ABC Notification Requirements and Deadlines for LDC Members

February 22 2017 (Date the TFA entered into force)

A, B, C category notifications

Indicative dates for provisions notified in categories B and C

Technical assistance and support for capacity building (TACB) requirements for provisions notified in Category C

February 22 2018

Definitive implementation dates for provisions notified in category B

TACB arrangements with donors for provisions notified in category C

August 22, 2019

Definitive dates for provisions notified in category C

Progress on TACB for provisions notified in category C

February 22 2018 (Date the TFA entered into force)

A, B, C category notifications

May provide indicative dates for provisions notified in category B

February 22 2019

TACB requirements for provisions notified in Category C

February 22 2020

Definitive implementation dates for provisions notified in category B

February 22 2021

Indicative dates for provisions notified in category C

TACB arrangements with donors for provisions notified in category C

August 22, 2022

Definitive dates for provisions notified in category C

Progress on TACB for provisions notified in category C

IMPLEMENTATION SUPPORT (TACB) ARRANGEMENTS AND PROGRESS REPORTS - (Article 16)

Article 16 – Implementation Support Arrangements and Progress Reports

Article 16 requires the notification of two reports, one on arrangements and one on progress made, between developing and least developed Members that require implementation assistance for category C provisions, and their donors.

1) Article 16 - Implementation Support Arrangements
(Article 16.1(d) for developing countries, Article 16.2(e) for LDCs)

Article 16 requires developing and least developed Members to notify arrangements with donors, maintained or entered into, for assistance and support for capacity building for the implementation of the provisions notified in Category C.

Who must notify: developing and LDC Members that have notified provisions in category C.

Note that non-Member donors are invited to provide information on existing or concluded arrangements.

Due: Developing Members – due February 22, 2018. LDC Members due February 22, 2021

2) Article 16 – Progress Reports
(Article 16.1(e) - developing countries, Article 16.2(f) – LDCs)

Article 16 also requires donor Members, and respective developing and LDC Members, to notify progress on the provision of assistance and support for capacity building.

Who must notify: donor Members, developing and LDC Members that have notified provisions in category C.

Due: Developing Members – due August 22, 2019. LDC Members due August 22, 2022

Statistics: the number and percentage of Members that have provided these two notifications can be found here.

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here.

Lists of Members that have already provided these notifications can be found here

EXTENSION OF CATEGORY B AND C IMPLEMENTATION DATES - (Article 17)

Article 17 - Early Warning Mechanism

Article 17 allows a developing or least-developed Member that cannot implement a provision(s) notified in category B or C by its notified definitive date to request an extension of time. This Article is called the early warning mechanism because the request must be notified in advance according to the time frames mentioned below under "Due".

The requesting Member is entitled to the additional time without any further action by the Committee if:

  • A developing country Member's additional time requested does not exceed 18 months beyond the notified definitive date.
  • A least-developed country Member's additional time requested does not exceed 3 years beyond the notified definitive date.

If a Member requires a longer extended implementation period, or it is a second request (or any subsequent request), then the request will be reviewed by the Committee. The Committee will give sympathetic consideration to these requests, taking into account the specific circumstances of the Member submitting the request; such as delays or difficulties in obtaining assistance. (See TFA Article 18 for possible recourse in case an extension is not granted.)

Who must notify: Any developing or least-developed Member that cannot implement a provision notified in category B or C by its notified definitive date.

Due: Developing countries- no later than 120 days before the expiration of the notified definitive date. Least-developed countries - no later than 90 days before the expiration of the notified definitive date.

In the case of a 2nd (or subsequent) request for extension of the implementation of a provision notified in category B or C the request is due:

Developing countries - no later than 120 days before the expiration of the extended implementation date. Least-developed countries - no later than 90 days before the expiration of the extended implementation date.

Statistics: the number and percentage of Members that have notified a request for a time extension can be found here

List of Members that have already notified a time extension can be found here. (choose the appropriate designation in the search Filter)

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here.

SHIFTING BETWEEN CATEGORIES B AND C - (Article 19)

Article 19 - Shifting Between Categories B and C

Article 19 allows a developing or least-developed country Member that has notified provisions under category B and C to shift provisions between these two categories by notifying the Committee.

If a Member proposes to shift a provision from Category B to Category C, it must provide information on the assistance and support required to build capacity.

If additional time is required to implement a provision shifted from Category B to Category C, the Member may use the provisions of Article 17 to request a time extension.

This Article also provides that if a least-developed country Member requests a shift from category B to Category C, a new implementation date of more than four years after the original date notified under Category B shall require approval by the Committee. In addition, a least-developed country Member shall continue to have recourse to a time extension under Article 17. It is understood that assistance and support for capacity building is required for a least-developed country Member so shifting.

Who must notify: A developing or least-developed Member that needs to shift a provision(s) from category B to C or from category C to B.

Due: No date specified in the TFA

Statistics: the number and percentage of Members that have notified a request for a time extension can be found here

List of Members that have already notified a shift(s) can be found here. (choose the appropriate designation in the search Filter)

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here.

INFORMATION ON ASSISTANCE AND SUPPORT FOR CAPACITY BUILDING - (Article 22)

Article 22 - Information on Assistance and Support for Capacity Building

Article 22 contains three sub-articles, each requiring the notification of information relating to the provision of assistance and support for capacity building. The first two provisions are aimed at donors and require them to provide information about the assistance that they have provided in the previous year and information about their assistance programs. The third sub-article is aimed at the recipient developing and least developed Members and requires them to provide a contact point(s) for the person(s) or office(s) responsible for coordinating and prioritizing this assistance.

Article 22.1 – Annual donor disbursement

This provision requires each donor Member assisting developing and LDC Members with the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement to annually notify the following information on its assistance and support for capacity building that was disbursed in the preceding 12 months and, where available, that is committed in the next 12 months:

  • (a) a description of the assistance and support for capacity building;
  • (b) the status and amount committed/disbursed;
  • (c) procedures for disbursement of the assistance and support;
  • (d) the beneficiary Member or, where necessary, the region; and
  • (e) the implementing agency in the Member providing assistance and support.

 

Article 22.2 – Donor contact points and mechanisms

This provision requires each donor Member assisting developing and LDC Members with the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement to notify:

  • (a) contact points of their agencies responsible for providing assistance and support for capacity building related to the implementation of Section I of this Agreement including, where practicable, information on such contact points within the country or region where the assistance and support is to be provided; and
  • (b) information on the process and mechanisms for requesting assistance and support for capacity building.

Who must notify: each donor Member assisting developing and LDC Members with the implementation of this Agreement.
Developing country Members in a position to provide TACB, and partner organizations are encouraged to provide the Article 22 information.

Due: The Article 22.1 was due February 22, 2017* and annually thereafter. (*Date the TFA entered into force.)
Article 22.2 - No date specified in the TFA. Early notification would be useful for developing and LDC Members seeking assistance.

List of Members that have already notified Article 22.1 and 22.2 can be found here.

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here.

 

Article 22.3 – Developing and LDC donor contact points

22.3. Developing and LDC Members requiring assistance and support for capacity building to implement provisions of the TFA must submit information on contact point(s) of the office(s) responsible for coordinating and prioritizing such assistance and support.

Who must notify: Developing and LDC Members requiring assistance and support for capacity building to implement provisions of the TFA (provisions notified in category C).

Due: No date specified in the TFA. Early notification would be useful if seeking donors to assist with implementation.

Member notifications: information on the notification status, and links to the notifications, for each Member can be found here.

Lists of Members that have already provided their notifications can be found here. (choose the appropriate designation in the search Filter)