Implications of the World Trade Organization’s Agreement on Trade Facilitation for Emerging Economies
ABSTRACT: The deliberations at the Bali Ministerial Round seem to have broken the stalemate surrounding the food security provisions under the World Trade Organization (WTO) which in turn resulted in a tremendous impact on the ambitious Agreement on Trade Facilitation under the auspices of the Organization. Trade facilitation is a mandate that certainly requires commitments by countries eager to implement these measures, beyond merely reforms in customs evaluation. This hence necessitates widespread number of measures to complement and supplement customs related reforms, by means of infrastructural and other technological changes. So even when a large number of resources are required, especially on the part of emerging economies for putting this mandate into action, trade facilitation can certainly promote much needed economic development and improve the standards of living in these countries. In addition, because trade facilitation touches upon the lives of a large varieties of sectors, like the government, businesses, Small and Medium enterprises and even consumers, due to its influence on trade growth by curbing red tape and corruption; it only implies that these measures are of utmost significance to emerging economies and can even have a greater impact on the latter. Thus where at one point, these countries believed that trade facilitation was exclusively to serve the needs of the developed world, where the latter could, as a result of these measures gain a better access to the markets of the developing world. However, trade facilitation in emerging economies could witness a substantial change in this scenario as a result of increase in North-South trade. Trade facilitation would then help easing these challenges that emerging economies experience due to lack of capacity to be competitive enough in international trade and also at the same time facilitate reform in the various institutional challenges faced by these countries. This paper delves to analyse the corollaries of this mandate on emerging economies, under the auspices of the WTO.