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China Accepts the Protocol of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement

Recently, the Chinese State Council decided to accept the protocol of WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). Chinese Minister of Commerce Gao Hucheng announced the above decision of the Chinese government at the East Asia Trade Ministers’ Meeting on August 23. The Chinese Ambassador to the WTO Yu Jianhua submitted the book of acceptance to the Director-General of WTO Roberto Azevêdo on September 4, marking that China has completed the domestic ratification procedures of accepting the protocol of TFA and become the 16th member to accept the protocol of TFA). According to the WTO rules, TFA will come into effect after it’s accepted by over two thirds WTO members.

TFA is the first multilateral agreement of trade in goods that China has been engaged in and reached after joining the WTO. As the world’s largest trade in goods country, to make TFA come into force and implemented not only conduces to the modernization process of the comprehensive management system of China’s port, but also improve the trade facilitation level of China’s main trading partners universally, promote China’s exports and create easier clearance environment.

The Chinese imports and exports of goods will become easier. For example, TFA requires all members to release their import and export procedures, so Chinese enterprises will be able to obtain the customs procedure requirements of the importing countries quickly via the Internet. TFA also admits traders to hand over import documents to the Customs before the arrival of goods, and admits traders to clear goods with deposit being submitted as the premise before the final confirmation of tax rate and fees of goods. Those measures are conducive to accelerating the release and clearance of goods. In addition, TFA rules that the members should adopt risk management and follow-up audit as management means to accelerate the release of low-risk goods and provide extra trade facilitation measures such as lowering the documentary requirement and check ratio for accredited traders.

TFA proposes higher requirements to its members on port infrastructure, management mode and port management department coordination. In line with China’s commitment, except for the single window, confirmation and release of average clearance time, tax exemption for re-imports of outbound processing goods, and Customs cooperation which may be implemented after the transitional period, all other measures will be carried out immediately when TFA come into effect.

Globally speaking, TFA will benefit the global trade, lower trade cost and promote the world trade and global economy development. China calls on other WTO members to accelerate their domestic procedures and accept the protocol of TFA as soon as possible so as to make TFA enter into force soon and become important fruit of the 10th WTO Ministerial Meetings.