ICCP welcomes WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement
Iris Gonzales (The Philippine Star) - March 13, 2017 - 12:00am

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

The TFA – the first multilateral trade agreement to enter into force in over two decades – aims to make trade easier and simpler by cutting red-tape at borders. ICCP has estimated that the deal could support the creation of some 20 million jobs worldwide – the vast majority in developing countries.

ICCP founding chairman Francis Chua said the Philippine government actively supported the agreement.

“Our strong support to this TFA plus the presence of (Foreign Affairs) Undersecretary Manuel 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.

Chua said the Philippines would stand to positively benefit from the landmark agreement and will provide a major boost to the country’s micro small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), considered the backbone of the economy, comprising about 99.6 percent of the registered establishments in the Philippines.

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.

The Philippines completed the ratification of the TFA in October last year wherein it deposited the instrument of acceptance to the WTO in Geneva, Switzerland.

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

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) has been 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.

“ICC has tirelessly championed the TFA because we know that making trade easier through simple customs reforms can provide a major boost to small business growth. It’s estimated that the TFA could increase SME exports by 80 percent in some economies. This means more jobs, more consumer choice and – ultimately – more inclusive development,” said John Danilovich, ICC secretary general.   


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