Background

Canada recently became the 103rd member of the World Trade Organization to ratify the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, the latest step toward the 110 (two-thirds of WTO membership) that must formally accept the TFA before it enters into force. Other notable WTO members that have already ratified the TFA include the U.S., Hong Kong, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, China, the European Union, Turkey, Brazil, Russia and India.

The TFA aims to standardize, streamline and accelerate customs processes around the world, thus helping to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods. Specific disciplines in the TFA relate to the publication and availability of information, the opportunity to comment before entry into force of new and amended laws and regulations, advance rulings, procedures for appeal, non-discrimination and transparency, fees and charges, the release and clearance of goods, border agency cooperation, the movement of goods, import/export/transit formalities, freedom of transit and customs cooperation.

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