World Trade Organisation Trade Facilitation Agreement—2014 Inquiry

Submission Overview

The ECA believes that the WTO TFA will offer significant benefits, including the following:
  • Being a multilateral agreement, the WTO TFA benefits will be offered on an MFN basis, which is the best possible outcome for Australian exporters.
  • Australian exporters, especially small exporters, will benefit from the WTO TFA because of the additional transparency and access to information if affords. For example, the requirement of all member countries to publish relevant procedures and forms for importing goods on the internet, as well as the provisions on advanced rulings will provide more clarity and confidence to businesses before their goods leave Australia. Indeed, the ECA believes that the WTO TFA may form a platform to develop provisions for Rules of Origin and Certificates of Origin that could be specific to SMEs as these procedures often unfairly disadvantage smaller companies.
  • The speeding up of import procedures and processes will enable Australian goods to get to market quicker. The quick release of perishable goods is a noteworthy benefit of the WTO TFA and one that will be welcomed by Australia’s food and beverage exporters.
  • Improving trade facilitation will reduce business costs for Australian exporters and make their goods more affordable to overseas consumers, thus improving their international competitiveness.
  • As stated by DFAT, it is estimated that the full implementation of the agreement could reduce the costs of trading across borders by up to 10 per cent for OECD countries.
  • The WTO TFA is consistent with the obligations of the parties to the World Customs Organisation SAFE Framework of Standards to Secure and Facilitate Global Trade.

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Ed Serrano
Managing Director,
VEKTA Advanced Automation
Member of the ECA

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