ICCP welcomes WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

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THE International Chamber of Commerce Philippines (ICCP) has welcomed the entry into force of the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), a landmark global trade deal which could boost global trade flows to over $1 trillion.

“ICC Philippines lauds the Philippine government for actively supporting this landmark global trade agreement,” Francis Chua, ICCP founding chairman said in a statement over the weekend.

“Our strong support to this TFA plus the presence of Undersecretary Manuel A.J. Teehankee as one of the active proponents in the Philippine government in pushing for this deal. There was no iota of doubt the Philippines would be a proactive supporter of this TFA,” Chua said.

The Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) plays a critical role in implementing the TFA, and the ICCP welcomes and is grateful to Trade Secretary Ramon Lopez for championing small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in ensuring that the agreement is carried through.

ICCP will meet with the Departments of Agriculture and of Health and the Bureau of Customs to ensure that the TFA truly benefits SMEs as in other member nations.

The Philippines stands to benefit from the agreement as it will provide a major boost to micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) – the backbone of the Philippine economy, comprising 99.6 percent of the registered establishments in the country, the chamber noted.

“The entry into force of the TFA is a watershed moment for global trade,” ICC Chairman Sunil Bharti Mittal said. “The reality today is that many small businesses are unable to trade internationally due to complex customs requirements. By cutting unnecessary red-tape at borders, the TFA will have a transformational effect on the ability of entrepreneurs in developing countries to access global markets.”

“The TFA can help ensure that, for the first time, all companies – regardless of size or location – can benefit from global trade. The entry into force of the agreement could not come at a more important moment given the imperative to make global growth more inclusive,” Mittal said.

ICC is a leading proponent of the TFA, playing a key role in the 2013 negotiations that led to the agreement and working closely with the WTO and other international organizations to coordinate and support the deal’s implementation.

Two-thirds of WTO member states have now ratified the TFA, with Rwanda, Oman, Chad and Jordan becoming the latest of 112 countries to ratify the agreement.

Reaching this threshold means the TFA now becomes an official part of the multilateral trading system which covers more than 96 percent of global gross domestic product.

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