Trade facilitation in context

image of Trade facilitation in context

Successive rounds of multilateral trade negotiations, culminating in the Uruguay Round in 1994, succeeded in dramatically reducing tariffs and other barriers to international trade, but trade costs remained high due in part to administrative burdens and inefficient customs procedures. In a world increasingly characterized by globalized manufacturing, just-in-time production, and integrated supply chains, there has been a growing recognition of the need for global rules to facilitate trade. This section looks at how trade facilitation issues have been dealt with in the WTO and other fora, including a review of the negotiations that led to the recent Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), a summary of the content of the TFA itself, an evaluation of the steps that need to be taken to move forward, and a survey of trade facilitation initiatives in regional trade agreements and other international organizations. This discussion is intended to establish the state of trade facilitation reform as it currently stands, and to set the stage for the theoretical and empirical discussions to follow.

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