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China Ratifies WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

China’s ambassador to the WTO Yu Jianhua has recently submitted an instrument of acceptance to Director-General Roberto Azevêdo, marking China has completed its domestic ratification procedures in accepting the protocol of the Trade Facilitation Agreement to become the 16th member formally accepting the Agreement.

It is understood that the State Council has recently made the decision to accept WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. According to WTO regulations, Trade Facilitation Agreement will enter into force after acceptance by two-thirds of WTO members.

Trade Facilitation Agreement is the first multilateral agreement on trade in goods participated by China and reached after China's accession to WTO. China as the world's largest goods trading nation, the coming into force and implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement will not only help China to modernise port comprehensive management system, it will also generally increase the level of trade facilitation of China's major trading partners, to promote Chinese exports and create convenient customs clearance.

For Chinese enterprises, import and export of goods will become more convenient. For example, the Trade Facilitation Agreement requires members to publish import and export procedures information, enabling Chinese companies to quickly obtain the importing country’s customs procedures requirement from the Internet. The Trade Facilitation Agreement also allows traders to submit import documents to the customs and other port authorities before cargo arrival, and allowing traders to release the goods upon payment of deposit before final determination of tax rate and other charges. These measures will help to accelerate the release and clearance of goods. In addition, the Trade Facilitation Agreement also stipulates that members should maximise the use of risk management and post-clearance audit and other management tools, expedite the release of low-risk assignments, and provide authorised operators with additional trade facilitation measures including reduced documentation requirements and lower rate of inspections.

The coming into force and implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement will put forward higher requirements on members in the areas of port infrastructure, management approach, and coordination among port management departments. According to China's commitments, apart from single window, establishment and publication of average release times, tax-free re-import of outward processing goods, customs cooperation and other measures of which China may implement after a certain transitional period, the country is required to implement the remaining measures at the commencement of Trade Facilitation Agreement.

Content provided by Picture: HKTDC Research
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