Wed, May 20, 2015 - Page 13 News List

Legislature ratifies WTO protocol of amendment

MAJORITY:Before it can be enacted, two-thirds of the WTO’s member states must ratify the agreement, which was part of a trade package discussed in 2013

By Alison Hsiao  /  Staff reporter

The Legislative Yuan yesterday ratified the WTO’s protocol of amendment of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, which is to streamline the measures and documents required by customs and in border-crossing procedures, and thereby reduce the costs of cross-border trading.

Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs Bill Cho (卓士昭) said the trade facilitation could galvanize global trade and is no less important than the reduction or elimination of tariffs and other non-tariff barriers, citing an Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development study.

The study also estimated that, whatever the level of implementation of the agreement, the potential impact on trade cost reduction could range from 11.7 percent to as much as 15.1 percent, Cho said.

Research by the Chung-Hua Institution for Economic Research (中華經濟研究院) also shows that it would increase the nation’s nominal GDP by US$3.858 billion annually, exports by US$3.226 billion and imports by US$2.794 billion, he added.

The agreement is only to take effect once the protocol has been ratified by two-thirds of the WTO’s 160 members, Chao said.

There is no deadline for securing the two-thirds threshold, according to the WTO, which reported in late March that many members have “[affirmed] their hope of seeing the agreement enter into force by the WTO’s 10th Ministerial Conference in Nairobi” in December.

The protocol amending the Marrekesh Agreement allowing the WTO to insert the Trade Facilitation Agreement was part of a trade package negotiated by WTO members at the ministerial conference in Bali, Indonesia, in December 2013 and was adopted by the WTO’s General Council on Nov. 27 last year.

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