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Blog: Assisting CARICOM compliance with the WTO’S Trade Facilitation Agreement

23 February 2018
The Hub and Spokes Programme Consolidation Phase provides trade experts to national ministries and regional trade organisations to enhance trade capacity in the African, Caribbean and Pacific (ACP) group of states. It is a joint Programme of the European Union, ACP Group Secretariat, the Commonwealth Secretariat and the Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie.

The CARICOM Secretariat convened a consultation to take stock of implementation among member states of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) and identify specific assistance required.

Sunday Oghayei, the Hub and Spokes Regional Trade Adviser (RTA) to the CARICOM Secretariat, drafted the agenda for the consultation and supported the compilation of a matrix showing the status of national implementation of the TFA. The RTA provided clarity to member states on their commitments regarding various aspects of the TFA.

In all, 18 participants came together on 19 July 2017 to understand their responsibilities after the TFA entered into force following ratification by two-thirds of the WTO membership. The agreement contains provisions for advancing the movement, release and clearance of goods.

Members’ attention was drawn to the important task of monitoring TFA implementation in CARICOM, particularly transparency notifications under Section I of the TFA, which all WTO members must provide.

Arising from monitoring and consultations by the Secretariat, with the assistance of the RTA, by early 2018 11 member states out of 20 in CARICOM had ratified the TFA. Others are in the process of finalising their ratification and notifications.

To further that end, the RTA provided a template of notifications and due dates to guide member states.