Hong Kong welcomes entry into force of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

     The Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of the World Trade Organization (WTO) entered into force yesterday (February 22), upon acceptance by two thirds of the WTO Members.

     The Secretary for Commerce and Economic Development, Mr‍ Gregory So, said, "We congratulate the WTO on achieving this significant milestone and welcome the implementation of the TFA, which is the first multilateral agreement concluded since the establishment of the WTO. This reflects WTO Members' commitment to the multilateral trading system."

     "The TFA will reduce costs and improve efficiency in doing business by ensuring a more transparent and predictable trading environment. Hong Kong, being an externally oriented economy and an international trading hub, will benefit from the TFA," he added.

     Concluded at the Ninth WTO Ministerial Conference in December‍ 2013, the Agreement sets out binding obligations for participating WTO Members to improve and harmonise their import/export and customs procedures.

     WTO Members that have accepted the TFA shall be obliged to comply with the TFA from the date of its entry into force. On the other hand, in recognition of the need of developing countries and least-developed countries, the TFA provides that these Members may opt for flexibility in the timing and condition of implementation of individual provisions. Hong Kong, being a global forerunner in the expeditious movement and release of goods, can comply with all the obligations under the TFA from the outset. Hong Kong was the first WTO Member to accept the TFA in December 2014.

Ends/Thursday, February 23, 2017
Issued at HKT 11:00