Belize recently became the second country in the Caribbean—after Trinidad and Tobago—to ratify the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).
The TFA was concluded at the Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013 with the goal of simplifying customs procedures to reduce trade costs, thus increasing the speed, efficiency, and transparency of operations and reducing bureaucracy and the potential corruption. The Protocol for the TFA was agreed on in November 2014.
The TFA contains provisions on goods in transit—which are particularly relevant to landlocked countries—and includes measures to support capacity building in those countries that lack the technical and financial resources needed to meet the commitments set forth in the agreement. It will enter into force when it is ratified by two-thirds of the 161 WTO members. So far, only 16 countries have done so: Australia, Belize, Botswana, China, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Niger, Singapore, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, Trinidad and Tobago, and the United States.
- IDB/INTAL. “WTO: Looking Ahead to the Bali Conference,” in:INTAL Monthly Newsletter 202, June 2013.
- IDB/INTAL. “Trade Facilitation at the Upcoming Bali Conference,” in: INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 204, August 2013.
- IDB/INTAL. “WTO: First Multilateral Trade Agreement,” in:INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 208, December 2013.
- IDB/INTAL. “WTO: Trade Facilitation and Food Security,” in:INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 216, August 2014.
- IDB/INTAL. “Difficulties Implementing Bali Package,” in: INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 218, October 2014.
- IDB/INTAL. “WTO: Consensus over Implementing First Multilateral Trade Agreement,” in: INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 219, November 2014.
- IDB/INTAL. “Negotiations around Information Technologies, Trade Facilitation, and Services,” in: INTAL Monthly Newsletter No. 228, August 2015.