Annual Report 2017


Table of Contents


1  Executive Summary

1.1.  On 22 February 2017, the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (hereinafter TFA or the Agreement) entered into force. During this year many developing and least developed country (LDC) Members were working on ratifying the TFA and most were preparing their category A, B and C notifications in order to benefit from the Agreement's implementation flexibilities. They were also working on establishing or strengthening their own National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC), which has responsibility for overseeing domestic coordination and implementation of the TFA, including preparation of TFA notifications.

1.2.  The WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF or the Facility) conducted a range of activities to assist WTO Members in these areas as well as meeting other TFAF objectives as set out in paragraph 24 of the TFAF Operational Guidelines and the 2017 Facility Work Plan (available at These other objectives included: providing a platform for information on the TFA; helping Members to find information on donor programs; enhancing awareness of the TFA and its benefits and requirements; enhancing coordination and cooperation among implementing organizations; and developing a grant program to help Members with their implementation needs.

1.3.  In order to advance towards achieving these objectives the Facility conducted many events in 2017, including the following:

  • a. Two needs assessments, and three national and five regional workshops to assist Members to gain a better understanding of the TFA, with a strong focus on the TFA's ratification and notification requirements;
  • b. completion of a series of courses intended to build the capacity of officials responsible for the operation of their National Trade Facilitation Committee;
  • c. three thematic workshops: one consisting of presentations of the six finalists of a case study competition; one on Enhancing Border Coordination and Measuring Progress, and the third, at MC11, called Trade Facilitation on Track;
  • d. matchmaking by providing information on available donor support and by putting Members in direct contact with potential sources of implementation support;
  • e. expansion of information on the TFAF website. Use of the website grew from an average of 3,000 to an average of 7,000 unique visitors per month;
  • f. expansion of Newsbytes news alert subscribers from 535 in 2016 to 1004 in 2017;
  • g. development of operational rules for TFAF project preparation and project implementation grants.

1.4.  The work of the TFAF was enhanced thanks to the support and cooperation received from partner organizations such as the ITC, OECD, UNCTAD, UNECE, the World Bank Group, and the World Customs Organization, as well as other international and regional organizations and donor Members. The TFAF also benefited from donations from the European Commission and China amounting to a total of CHF 1,217,200 in new funding. (See "Funds" on page 21 for information on donors and funding carried over from previous years.)

1.5.  The annual report that follows provides further information on the activities conducted by the TFAF from January to December 2017, as well as a financial report. The results framework found at the end of this report indicates the progress made in 2017 as a result of the Facility's activities.


Box 1


Category A, B and C Notifications


To benefit from Special and Differential Treatment (SDT), a Member must notify the other WTO Members of when it will implement each trade facilitation measure using the categories below. The Agreement sets out timelines for these notifications.


Category A provisions that the Member will implement by the time the Agreement enters into force (or, in the case of a least developed country Member, within one year after entry into force).


Category B provisions that the Member will implement after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement.


Category C provisions that the Member will implement on a date after a transitional period following the entry into force of the Agreement and requiring the acquisition of assistance and support for capacity building.



2 Introduction

2.1.  The Trade Facilitation Agreement entered into force on 22 February 2017 when two thirds (110) of the 164 Members ratified the TFA and notified the WTO by providing an instrument of acceptance. During 2017, 23 Members provided their instrument of acceptance, bringing the total number of ratifications by the end of the year to 126.

2.2.  The TFA allows developing and least developed countries to determine when they will implement each of the trade facilitation measures set out in the Agreement. To take advantage of the implementation flexibilities, a Member must notify each provision of the TFA under one of three categories (A, B, and C) as described in Box 1. In 2017, 23 Members provided category A notifications (including 12 addenda for second time notifications and one addendum for third time notifications. Thirty-one Members provided category B notifications (including 29 first time notifications and two addenda), and 21 Members provided category C notifications. It should be noted that some Members put all provisions in categories A and B, and some made multiple notifications within a category.

2.3.  The WTO Facility was created at the request of developing and LDC Members to help Members to take advantage of these implementation flexibilities and to find the assistance they need to reap the full benefits of the new WTO TFA.

2.4.  The Facility has been in operation since 28 November 2014 (the date on which the TFA Protocol of Amendment was agreed by Members). Its responsibilities, method of operation, and logistical framework, are set out in the Operational Guidelines.  These Guidelines instruct the Facility to assist developing and LDC Members in the following tasks that will lead to the fulfilment of the ultimate goal of simplified border clearance through full implementation of the TFA:

  • i. Develop a clearer understanding of the TFA provisions and requirements;
  • ii. Prepare and submit TFA Section II category A, B and C commitment notifications;
  • iii. Complete domestic procedures to make the TFA legally binding;
  • iv. Secure implementation support.

2.5.  The Facility is managed by WTO Secretariat staff from the WTO's Market Access Division. In 2017, the Facility staff included one professional, one programme officer, and one intern. In addition, one secretary and one webmaster were shared between the Facility and the WTO Trade Facilitation Committee. The Secretariat also began a recruitment process with a view to hiring two additional individuals who would join the staff in 2018: one to be responsible for the website and the other for the grant program to be launched in 2018.



3  Matchmaking and Funding Activities

Task 1: Matchmaking activities

3.1.  One of the key functions of the Facility is to assist Members to find the support they need to implement the TFA. In 2017, most developing and LDC Members were still in the process of preparing their category C commitments, which requires the identification of technical assistance and support for capacity building needs for each category C provision. Nevertheless, the Facility undertook matchmaking activities in several forms, including:

  • i. Provision of information on donor and organization programs on the TFAF website;
  • ii. One on one meetings with Members to advise on available Technnical Assistance Support for Capacity Building (TACB), where to find more information, and how to approach donors;
  • iii. Finding a donor to meet a matchmaking request for specific provisions of the TFA and putting Members in direct touch with a donor that agreed to assist with implementation, such as the World Bank.




Assistance Conducted


Implementing Partner



                    TFA Gap Analysis and Prioritization for Implementation

           Multiple dates

                                     World Bank Group 

                 Sierra Leone

                                 Assistance to set up the NTFC


           Multiple dates



                                      World Bank Group 


4 Activities related to ratification and special and differential treatment notifications and Identification of Implementation Support

Task 2: Provision of general information

4.1.  One of the day to day functions of the Facility is to provide to Members information about the TFA and its implementation. This information sharing is often conducted informally, by telephone, e mail, or in person.

4.2.  In 2017, the Facility frequently  provided information to Members on how to complete and submit category A, B, and C notifications, and on how to prepare and submit the instrument of acceptance; it also answered general questions on the TFA and its requirements. In addition, the Facility responded to numerous requests for information about the TFA from outside the Membership, such as from other international organizations, from trade associations, from academia, and from the media.

Task 3: National Workshops

4.3.  General workshops on the TFA, including national and regional workshops and ITTC trade policy courses are organized by the WTO Institute for Training and Technical Cooperation (ITTC) and, although these activities may be conducted by TFAF staff, they are not covered by this report. Information on these activities, including an e learning training course on trade facilitation that ITTC is currently in the process of developing, is available in the ITTC annual report.

4.4.  The Facility conducts national activities that require more in depth knowledge of the Agreement, including assistance with ratification and notifications. These events are conducted upon request and are designed individually to meet the specific needs of the Member concerned. For requests that fall outside the mandate or expertise of the WTO, such as implementation of the technical provisions of the TFA, we make every effort to match the Member to a partner with the relevant expertise.

4.5.  In 2017 the Facility received three requests for national activities, as follows:

4.6.  Republic of Moldova: A workshop was held at the WTO for high level officials from the Republic of Moldova. At the time of the event Moldova had ratified the TFA, had officially established its national TF Committee, and had provided its category A notification; however, Moldova had not yet notified its category B and C provisions. The program consisted of an update on the state of play of the TFA; an introduction to the TFA and the SPS Agreement; a review of Moldova's category B and C measures; information and best practices for an effective national TF Committee; support programs; tools and instruments; and single window. Presentations were made by the WTO (TFAF, Agriculture Division, and STDF) as well as UNCTAD and UNECE.

4.7.  El Salvador: A Seminar on Trade Facilitation took place in San Salvador, with the objective of deepening participants' understanding of the provisions of the Agreement, based on the notifications of commitments under categories A, B, and C; the need to coordinate inter institutionally with the different government agencies involved in the application of the Agreement; and the identification of programs of cooperation for the measures that will be notified under categories B and C.

4.8.  Ecuador: The WTO Secretariat conducted a national workshop for some 35 customs officers and officials from the Ministry of Trade.  The Ecuadorian authorities were particularly interested in clarifying some of the provisions of the Agreement and their implications for Ecuador. How to obtain technical assistance and support for capacity building was also an important component of the activity. As a result of the activity, participants came to understand the importance of ratifying the TFA, the importance of preparing and notifying category B and C notifications, and the importance of establishing an effective national committee.




Assistance Provided


Partners conducting the workshop


Republic of Moldova


          11 April 2017


          Workshop for Moldovan officials



            WTO,UNCTAD, UNECE

El Salvador

          24-25 July 2017

     National Workshop on Trade Facilitation 




        28-30 November 2017

     National Workshop on Trade Facilitation 


                 WTO, World Bank


Task 4: Regional Worskhops

4.9.  The Facility co organized five regional workshops with other international organizations. These partnerships helped to avoid duplication and supported TF initiatives on the part of partner organizations. They were as follows:

4.10.  An International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees was organized in Geneva by UNCTAD with cooperation and funding from the TFAF and other Annex D+ partners.

4.11.  The main objective of the forum was for participants to share their experience and best practices with regard to establishing and maintaining a national trade facilitation committee. Participants also learned about technical assistance programs to support these committees that are available through international and regional organizations. The forum also provided a great opportunity for Capital based officials to meet officials from other Members' national committees.

4.12.  Sessions covered, among other topics, an overview of the TFA; border agency cooperation; the main challenges and best practices of maintaining a national committee; stakeholder engagement; and the role of NTFC in the future of Trade Facilitation. The total number of registered participants was 277, of whom 85 participants were women, and 195 were men. Forty participants were from the private sector, 58 from trade ministries, 38 from customs administrations, and 53 from permanent missions. The participants came from all regions of the world with the majority (53%) from Africa. Funding of some of the participants was shared by the Annex D organizations. The WTO TFAF funded 20 participants, 8 of whom were national donor coordinators. Geneva based delegates did not have to register and for this reason the total number of attendees is unknown.

4.13.  A regional workshop on Promoting Connectivity Through Trade Facilitation and Aid for Trade was jointly organized by the Asian Development Bank, Korean Customs Service, WTO TFAF, WTO Aid for Trade, and KODAC (Kyung Hee Overseas Development & Consulting) in Seoul, Republic of Korea. It was designed to examine the progress and impact of trade facilitation and aid for trade on promoting connectivity in Asia and the Pacific, and to prepare regional input for the Sixth Global Review of Aid for Trade, "Promoting Connectivity", which was held at the WTO from 11 13 July 2017.

4.14.  Each session was designed to cover a wide range of trade facilitation related issues, including the status of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation and support; engagement in, and support to, the development of e commerce and digital trade; and the progress of trade facilitation projects in Asia and the Pacific. A particular emphasis was placed upon the needs of least developed countries and geographically remote economies.

4.15.  The participants were customs officials from 19 Asian countries. Presenters were specialists from 11 international and regional organizations, and academia.

4.16.  The WTO, in collaboration with the IADB and the Caribbean Customs Law Enforcement Council (CCLEC), conducted a regional outreach event on Promoting Connectivity and Trade Facilitation through Aid for Trade for Caribbean Customs Officials that was held in Miami, Florida.

4.17.  The activity featured sessions reviewing Trade Facilitation Agreement implementation, including updates both on national activities and specific themes (single windows and authorized economic operators). An update was also given on TF related themes emerging from the aid for trade monitoring and evaluation exercise as well as TF related issues in submissions made by Members on e commerce. The IADB provided a detailed overview of its TF related aid for trade programming.

4.18.  The TFAF funded 21 officials to participate in the ADB–UNESCAP 8th Asia Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia. This forum provides a regional platform for the exchange of information, experiences, and practices, in the area of trade facilitation. It attracts over 250 participants from over 30 countries and is now in its eighth year. The goal of this specific forum was to facilitate experience  and knowledge sharing between countries of the greater Asia and Pacific region, including LDCs and LLDCs; to foster an increased understanding and exchange of views between public and private stakeholders, as well as with trade facilitation standards developers and technical assistance providers; to draw lessons from ongoing implementation of national and regional trade facilitation measures; and to introduce international tools, instruments, and facilities aimed at increasing the efficiency of regional and global cross border trade.

4.19.  The TFAF funded three government officials to participate in an EIF–UNESCAP Workshop – Emerging Priorities in Least Developed Countries on Trade & Development, which was held in Bangkok, Thailand. This forum featured sessions on "Better Trade Facilitation: Opportunities and Challenges for LDCs in International and Regional Trade", and "Drilling Down on TF Experiences on WTO Multilateral and Regional Levels".


Details on regional workshops 





                Participating partner organizations

International Forum for National Trade Facilitation Committees

23‑27 January 2017

Geneva, Switzerland

277 registered participants plus Geneva‑based officials.


WTO funded 20 participants; 16 men and four women.

                 ITC, UNCTAD, WBG, WCO, TFAF

ADB, KCS, WTO, & KODAC Regional Workshop on Promoting Connectivity through Trade Facilitation and Aid for Trade

27‑29 March 2017

Seoul, Republic of Korea

WTO was co‑organizer but participants were funded by the Republic of Korea's Customs Service; 18 men and one woman.

                   ADB, KCS, WTO, & KODAC

WTO‑IADB‑CCLEC Regional Outreach Event on Promoting Connectivity and Trade Facilitation through Aid for Trade

25–26 May 2017

Miami, Florida,

United States

WTO funded officials.


21 participants; 14 men and seven women.


ADB, UNESCAP 8th Asia‑Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum, Yogyakarta, Indonesia

8 September 2017

Yogyakarta, Indonesia

WTO funded officials.


21 participants;

16 men and five women.

                            ADB, UNESCAP


Task 5: National needs assessments

4.20.  The national needs assessment program was originally created to assist WTO developing and LDC Members to participate more effectively in the trade facilitation negotiations by helping them to conduct a gap and situational analysis. The program was offered again, beginning in 2013, to assist Members to update their results and identify the time required to implement each measure in the TFA, and their technical assistance needs, so that they could take advantage of the implementation flexibilities provided for in the TFA. A total of 99 WTO needs assessments have been conducted since the beginning of 2013.

4.21.  This program and its trust fund were transferred to the Facility. Most Members completed a self assessment, or an update, after the negotiations were concluded such that only two needs assessments were requested and conducted in 2017. These needs assessments were necessary to assist Mongolia and the Kingdom of Bahrain to be in a position to prepare their category A, B and C notifications and to identify their implementation assistance needs. Mongolia subsequently provided its notification in February 2018, and Bahrain in March 2018.




Facilitated by


13‑14 June 2017



15‑17 October 2017




5 Implementation Support and Capacity Building

Task 6: Dedicated thematic workshops

Case Study Competition Finals

5.1.  In 2016, the TFAF, in collaboration with the World Bank Group, conducted a case study competition under the World Bank Smart Lessons program. The goal of the competition was to showcase the lessons learned (both successes and failures) in implementing trade facilitation reforms. In 2017, the organizers selected the top six case studies for presentation by the authors at a side event at the Aid for Trade Global Review that was held at the WTO in July. The finalists presented their case studies in "TED Talk" style. The event was broadcast live via Facebook. The winning results were "delivered" to the moderators by the Global Express Association, which also sponsored a reception immediately after the event. All case studies are available on the TFAF website under the resources for the relevant TFA article.

For more on this event please see:

Zambia and Jamaica joint prize winners smartlessons case study competition





Mr Moabi Phia, Manager, Trade Portal, Botswana Investment and Trade Centre

Trade Portal



Ms Kanika Tomlinson, Legal Counsel, Trade Board Ltd

TF Task Force:

Involving Public and Private Sectors to Improve Competitiveness


Mr Tawonga Munthali, Principal Trade Officer, Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism

Trade Portal


Ms Snezana Vujanovic, Secretary of the National Trade Facilitation Committee, Ministry of Finance, Montenegro

Establishing an NTFC: Lessons Learned


Ms Rosine Uwamariya, Head of Operations, Rwanda Revenue Authority

Ms Lucy Mudaheranwa, Project Manager, Rwanda Electronic Single Window

Single Window



Mrs Kayula Siame, Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Commerce Trade & Industry

Introducing Risk‑Based Principles Into Border Inspections and Clearance


Seminar on the WTO TFA: Enhancing Border Coordination and Measuring Progress

5.2.  The WTO Secretariat organized a joint event with the World Bank Group on The WTO TFA: Enhancing Border Coordination and Measuring Progress. It was an add on event to the Aid for Trade Global Review and was attended by approximately 120 people, including capital based officials. It featured speakers from various regions of the world sharing their experiences in border agency cooperation. Border agency cooperation is required by the TFA and is also necessary for the effective operation of a national trade facilitation committee.





Smart Lessons Program Case Study Competition Finals

12 July 2017

Open to all Global Forum participants – held in WTO Atrium and broadcast on live feed via Facebook

World Bank Group

WTO TFA: Enhancing Border Coordination and Measuring Progress

14 July 2017

Approximately 120 participants

World Bank Group

MC11 Side Event: Trade Facilitation on Track

12 Dec 2017

124 plus standing room

Annex D Organizations


WTO 11th Ministerial Conference Trade Facilitation Side Event

5.3.  The Facility, in cooperation with Annex D partners, conducted a workshop at the Ministerial Conference in Buenos Aires titled "Trade Facilitation on Track". The event was open to all conference participants. It consisted of eight presentations from public and private sector leaders and the TFAF. Speakers discussed the benefits of implementing the TFA thanks to swifter and less costly trade at the border; they also highlighted the importance of local ownership of reform plans, multi stakeholder cooperation, and capacity building for the successful implementation of the Agreement. The room was full to capacity.

5.4.  The Facility also distributed brochures from donors and partner organizations throughout the duration of the Ministerial Conference. 


Task 7: Advanced Trade Facilitation Course for Chairs of NTFCs

5.5.  The TFA requires all Members to have a national committee in place to oversee the TFA's implementation. Most Members created a task force or committee during the negotiations but many struggled to keep it operating effectively. Based on Members' needs, the TFAF organized courses to build the capacity of the working chairs or secretaries of NTFCs in areas such as successful stakeholder engagement, resource mobilization, and conducting successful meetings. The course also focused on assisting participants to develop a deeper understanding of the TFA's measures, the link between the TFA and other WTO Agreements, as well as how to prepare their category A, B and C notifications and find donor support. Another important feature of the course was the opportunity for the participants to network with other participants, as well as with the trainers and donors themselves. Various WTO partner organizations participated in the course as lecturers, coaches, presenters and tutors, including from the ITC, WCO, WBG, UNCTAD, UNECE, IATA, EIF, STDF, WEF, GEA, SIECA, and Swiss Customs.

5.6.  This course was offered twice in 2016 in English. Based on the positive feedback from those first courses, and high demand, we offered the course in French and Spanish in early 2017 (several English speaking officials from Latin America and Francophone countries had already participated in the English courses). Overall, over 90 people participated in these courses. Some countries self funded the participation of a second official.

Participants of the French Advanced Course with the DG, TFAF, and Annex D partners

Quotes from Advanced Course Evaluation Forms:

"I have more confidence now knowing and obtaining knowledge on how a committee should function and on the roles of the NTFC secretariat and chairs. I will have a more enlightened approach and know the importance of sticking to time schedules and being empathetic to other Members."

"I will definitely draw from the resources presented at this course. I will also work closer with our Mission in Geneva to tap into donor support and technical assistance."

"I will use these consultation techniques I learned during the past two weeks. I learned how to open meetings, how to moderate discussions, and how to summarize and reach conclusive decisions."






Participating partner organizations

Advanced Course for Chairs of National TF Committees in French

30 January‑
10 February 2017


The WTO funded 24 participants from Africa, Haiti, Moldova, and the CEMAC Secretariat; of these, there were 7 women participants, and 17 men.


Advanced Course for Chairs of National TF Committees in Spanish

2‑19 March 2017


The WTO funded 14 participants from Latin America and Cuba; of these, there were 4 women participants, and 10 men. (Several Latin American countries had already participated in 2016 courses taught in English.)



Task 8: Development of TFAF Grant Program

5.7.  An important role of the TFAF will be to offer project preparation grants (of up to US$30,000) and project implementation grants (of up to US$200,000) to assist developing and least developed country Members to implement the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The purpose of this grant program is to support WTO Members that have not been able to secure assistance for implementation of the TFA provisions from WTO donor Members or multilateral or regional organizations.

5.8.  During 2017, the WTO Secretariat worked on the development of the operational rules for the grant program. We had planned to launch this program in 2017; however, due to the modest number of category C notifications that had been submitted in 2017, its launch was delayed until 2018,  after more Members had submitted their category C notifications and had an opportunity to work with donors to find the support they need.

5.9.  In 2017, the WTO Secretariat began the process of hiring a specialist to oversee this grant program, using TFAF funding.


Task 9: TFAF website (

5.10.  In 2015, the Facility created a website to serve as a platform for information on all matters relating to implementation of the TFA. The website contains information on the Agreement; case studies and training materials on the implementation of the provisions; information and contact points for donor support programs; contact points for developing and LDC Members; and up to date information on ratifications of the Agreement and special and differential treatment notifications received. It publicizes trade facilitation–related news items and events conducted by the WTO and its partner organizations.

5.11.  In 2017, the Facility expanded the web page that provided contact points for Members, and for developing and least developed countries in particular, to include additional information on technical assistance and support for capacity building that has been provided by the WTO and its partner organizations.

5.12.  Information was collected on more than 700 technical assistance activities in over 60 countries and posted on the TFAF website in 2017.
For the period 1 January 2017 to 1 January 2018, there were 85,216 unique visitors to the website, with an average session lasting about 2 minutes and 38 seconds, and an average page view of 2.23 pages per visit.
In the same time period, there were a total of 118,322 visits to the site.


The top 10 visiting countries were:


% of site visits


Russian Federation






United States





















United Kingdom



Total number of Pageviews: 264,023


Number of Unique Pageviews: 197,775


The 10 most popular pages were:


% of Pageviews





The Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility









IATA Page (Spanish version)



Spanish Homepage



Contact Points and Profiles



Contact Us



About the Facility



Donors and organizations



Traffic to the site is 72.7% organic (meaning that users searched for the TFAF on Google or other search engines, from where they found and then visited the site).

24.8% of traffic is via direct access (meaning that the visitor typed the site address directly into the browser).

The remaining traffic was generated via social media links, referrals, e mails, and other.



5.13.  In 2016, the Facility launched a news alert, called Newsbytes, to inform subscribers of new developments and upcoming events relating to the TFA. The Newsbytes alert service is available to anyone that registers for it on the TFAF website. Each alert provides a brief description of the latest news with a link to the full story on the website. It is issued only when there is news that we think would be of interest to subscribers.

5.14.  In 2017, NewsBytes were sent to subscribers on nine occasions. In particular, it kept Members informed on ratifications received as the number of ratifications received approached the two thirds necessary for the entry into force of the TFA – which occurred in February 2017. This was important not only to inform Members of the date of the entry into force, but also because the date of entry into force was also the reference date for special and differential treatment notifications allowing developing and LDC Members to delay the implementation of their TFA provisions.

5.15.  The first NewsBytes was sent in February 2016 to 223 subscribers. By end 2016, the number of subscribers had risen to 535. And by end 2017, the number of subscribers had risen again, to 1004 subscribers.


Task 10: Training Materials

5.16.  The TFAF keeps up to date charts and statistics available on the website that can be used by Members, or the public, for presentations. Some general slide presentations are also available on the website, as are links to training materials developed by other organizations.

5.17.  The WTO Secretariat issued a new publication on the practices and challenges of the NTFC. The publication, entitled "National Committees on Trade Facilitation: Current Practices and Challenges", was based on a survey completed by Members and presentations made in an experience sharing workshop on Establishing or Maintaining a National Committee on Trade Facilitation that was held in 2016.



Task 11: TFA and TFAF Outreach

5.18.  In 2017, the Facility organized the distribution of TFAF brochures, as well as materials and brochures from donors and partner organizations, at several high profile events, including the International Forum, the Aid for Trade Global Review, the WTO Public Forum, the dedicated thematic session on border agency cooperation, the WTO Advanced Courses and, last but not least, at MC11.

5.19.  In order to disseminate as widely as possible information about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the SDT notification requirements, and the role of the Facility, WTO officials participated in a variety of events, some at the WTO, and others organized by different organizations, as listed below. (Please note that this list does not include events funded by the WTO Global Trust Fund).








TFAF workshop with World Bank officials stationed in regional offices

15–17 February 2017

Washington D.C., United States

Approximately 20 World Bank officials responsible for regional TFA implementation projects.


World Customs Organization TFA Working Group

7‑9 March 2017

Brussels, Belgium

Approximately 200 participants from customs administrations, other border agencies, international associations and organizations, and the private sector.


UN‑OHRLLS ‑ High Level Meeting for the Euro‑Asia Region on Improving Co‑operation on Transit

7‑9 March 2017

Hanoi, Viet Nam

Approximately 100 participants comprising Ministers and senior government officials from LLDCs, transit countries, development partners, United Nations organizations and relevant international, regional and national organizations, the private sector, and NGOs.


High Level Roundtable 'Africa & the WTO TFA: from Ratification to Implementation' organized by the All‑Party Parliamentary Group for Trade Out of Poverty (APPG‑TOP) and the UK Government's Trade Policy Group, a joint Department of DFID

8 March 2017


United Kingdom

30 participants, including Ministers of Trade from 10 countries and Senior Directors from numerous international organizations.


IATA 11th World Cargo Symposium

14–16 March 2017

Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

Approximately 800 (376 women/424 men) key stakeholders from the entire air cargo supply chain.


Austral University Law School Customs Law Course

25–26 April 2017

Buenos Aires, Argentina

45 participants (15 women/30 men) comprising academia, public and private sector. Also broadcast online for students.


WCO Regional Conference of Customs Directors‑General for the Americas and Caribbean Region

14–20 May 2017

Havana, Cuba

Approximately 55 customs officials, including many director‑generals, from the region.


AMERICARIBE Meeting of the Customs from the Americas and the Private Sector

17 May 2017

Havana, Cuba

Approximately 125 participants from customs administrations, other border agencies, international associations and organizations and private sector.


COMALEP XXXVIII Meeting of Customs National Directors of Latin America, Spain and Portugal

18 May 2017

Havana, Cuba

Approximately 50 participants from customs administrations from Latin America, Spain, and Portugal


World Customs Organization Knowledge Academy

19–22 June & 10–11 July 2017

Brussels, Belgium

Approximately 75 officials from customs and other border agencies.


APEC Workshop on Enhancement of Stakeholder Engagement in the Implementation of WTO TFA

16 August 2017

Ho Chi Minh City, Viet Nam

Approximately 100 Vietnamese officials from the Ministry of Trade and Industry and Ministry of Information and Communication.


2017 World BASC Congress, on 'Trade Facilitation & Security Pathway for Global Prosperity'

14–15 September 2017

Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic

Approximately 200 participants (80 women/120 men) including representatives from custom administrations, international organizations, Inspections and Enforcement Authorities, related unions and associations, exporters–importers, logistics operators.


ECA Annual Trade Facilitation Conference on Coordinated Border Management

19–20 September 2017

Budva, Montenegro

Approximately 100 officials from Eastern Europe and Central Asia border and trade agencies and private sector plus officials from World Bank and various international organizations.


African Alliance for E‑Commerce Development (AAEC) 6th Edition of the International Single Window Conference

3–5 October 2017

Accra, Ghana

Approximately 200 participants from government and the private sector, attended the meeting, which was in partnership with the Ghana Revenue Authority and the Ministry of Trade and Industry


IPPC Seminar with session on the TFA and Plant Health, and Meetings with FAO staff responsible for technical assistance

10–11 October 2017

Rome, Italy

Approximately 200 officials from IPPC responsible for providing technical assistance


World Customs Organization TFA Working Group Meeting

16–20 October 2017

Brussels, Belgium

Approximately 200 participants from customs administrations, other border agencies, international associations and organizations and private sector


IX Latin American Single Window Meeting organized by the Permanent Secretariat of the Latin American and Caribbean Economic System (SELA) and the National Customs Directorate of Paraguay.

26–27 October 2017

Asunción, Paraguay

Approximately 70 participants (30 women/40 men)

from government and the private sector


8th Edition Global Trade Development Week, Customs

30 October–1
November 2017

Dubai, UAE

Approximately 200 participants (70% from the private sector and 30% government officials)

(50 women/50 men)


Korean International Seminar on Origin – Trade Facilitation Agreement and the current work of the WTO

14 November 2017

Seoul, Republic of Korea

Approximately 200 government officials

(50 women/50 men) from customs/trade


Geneva Chamber of Commerce, Reflections on Trade Facilitation and Border Crossing

15 November 2017

Geneva, Switzerland

Approximately 40 participants from Swiss businesses and from organizations


UNESCAP International Seminar on Trade Facilitation in Northeast Asia

16–17 November 2017

Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia

Approximately 60 participants (15 women/32 men) total for the TF session


Annual Meeting of the IPCSA at the WCO

23 November 2017

Brussels, Belgium

Approximately 100 participants (40 women/60 men)


High Level Informal Regional Meeting of the General Directors of Customs Administrations of Western Balkan Countries, organized by the Customs Administration of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia and supported by the USAID and the World Bank/IFC

30 November–1 December 2017

The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia

Approximately 24 participants

(7 women/17 men) including the highest‑level customs officials from the region, international and regional organizations leading and/or supporting the process of MAP implementation


High Level Informal Regional Meeting of the General Directors of Customs Administrations International Conference

Organized by ICC Turkey International Chamber of Commerce

5 December 2017

Istanbul, Turkey

Approximately 200 participants. Customs experts from international, regional and national organizations and institutions, and business representatives


ESCAP‑EEC International Conference on Cross‑border Paperless Trade: Single Window in the Context of New Technological Wave

7‑8 December 2017

Russian Federation

Approximately 200 people from Eurasian Economic Commission (EEC) member countries and Central Asia


UNECE workshop on Advancing Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade for Sustainable Growth

9 December 2017

Buenos Aires, Argentina

Side event to MC11. Approximately 35 officials from UN regional commissions and developing countries


Task 12: Activities to Enhance Coherence and Coordination

5.20.  During 2017, the Annex D partners met frequently to share information on assistance activities in order to enhance coherence and avoid duplication. As a result, many events were conducted jointly by organizations, and where separate events were held, information was shared to build on the work rather than to duplicate it. Meetings were also held to plan events such as the International Forum and the event at MC11.

5.21.  The WTO Secretariat participated in a one day session with around 20 World Bank officials from regional offices around the world that are responsible for overseeing trade facilitation implementation projects. This was an excellent opportunity to ensure that these officials give accurate advice to governments about ratification, ABC notifications, national committees, donor support matchmaking, the role of the TFA Committee, and the role played by Members' missions in Geneva. The exchange of information at the session was very useful and the event afforded a good opportunity for participants to share experiences and issues that they had faced in their respective regions. The WTO Secretariat also took advantage of the visit to Washington DC in order to meet and discuss cooperation initiatives with USAID and IADB.



5.22.  Two trust funds had been established at the WTO for programs set up to support the TFA negotiations. The remaining funds from these two trust funds were transferred to the Trade Facilitation Agreement Trust Fund after receiving authorization to do so from each donor. These funds, as well as additional funds received in 2017, are detailed at the beginning of the chart below, with the contributions received in 2017 set out immediately below. All the figures in the following tables are in Swiss Francs (CHF).



Opening Balance as at 1 January 2017


Australia (contribution to TFAF and transfer from TTFNA)


Austria (contribution to TFAF)


Finland (contribution to TFAF)


Ireland (transfer from TTFNA)


Norway (contribution to TFAF and transfers from TTFNG and TTFNA)


New Zealand (transfer from TTFNA)


Chinese Taipei (transfer from TTFNA)


United Kingdom (contribution to TFAF)


United States (transfer from TTFNA)


Interest on Investments








European Commission






New Zealand




Chinese Taipei


United Kingdom


United States


Contributions Current Year




European Commission










TTFNA – Trade Facilitation Trust Fund Needs Assessment

TTFNG – Trade Facilitation Trust Fund Negotiating Group















New Zealand


Chinese Taipei


United Kingdom


United States




6: Results Framework






No. of something










Year 1‑2015

Year 2‑2016

Year 3‑2017



Members have simplified border clearance


2014 values



As of 22 February
2018, 60% of the TFA was being implemented worldwide

(calculated using category A & B indicative dates)

Implementation deadlines notified by Members


(Calculated on anniversary of EIF of the TFA)

  • Technical training does not convert to political commitment.

OUTCOME 1: Members are implementing all TFA provisions

(including category A, B and C commitments)

  • Category A notifications implemented
  • % based on expiration of deadlines for implementation
  • requests for extension of deadlines
  • No. of cases raised in the TF Committee

TFA not entered into force

TFA not entered into force

TFA not entered into force

22 February
2017: TFA entered into force

TFAF website ‑ information on implementation deadlines of Members

TF Committee Minutes

  • Insufficient supply of consultants with necessary legal expertise to assist with drafting of national legislation
  •  New laws not passed by Parliament
  • New laws and regulations not implemented
  • Disengagement of donors

OUTCOME 2: Members have secured support for category C commitments



No category C notifications have been submitted

6 category C notifications submitted

49 category C notifications submitted

Information/feedback from Members

Information/feedback from donors

Information/feedback from international organisations

‑ Lack of notification

‑ Insufficient scoping of projects

‑ Insufficient detail in requests

‑ Requests are duplicative or otherwise baseless

‑ Requests do not sync with donor cycles

‑ Lack of engagement by donor partners

OUTPUT 2.1: Information platform for donor information



Avg. 1800 unique visitors per month

Avg. 3000 unique visitors per month

Avg. 7000 unique visitors per month

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report


OUTPUT 2.2: Meetings on needs identification with Members

Number of meetings held





TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Turnover of Members' staff

OUTPUT 2.3: Meetings/communications with donors to identify support for specific projects

Number of meetings/communications conducted





TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Lack of engagement/response by donor partners

OUTPUT 2.4: Grants to developing and LDC Members

  • Number of grant requests received
  • Amount of grants issued


Not Applicable

Not Applicable

Not applicable

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

TFAF website

  • Insufficient sustainable predictable funding throughout the life of the Facility

OUTCOME 3: Members have completed domestic procedures to make the TFA legally binding

No. of instruments of acceptance received


64 countries ratified in 2015

39 countries ratified in 2016;

103 in total.

23 countries ratified in 2017;

126 total.

TFAF and WTO websites


  • Political challenges – i.e. change in government, TFA is an executive priority but Parliament does not ratify

OUTPUT 3.1 Informative material

Number of events held


The TFAF Brochure was distributed at the Global Forum, Aid for Trade event, MC10 Nairobi, Workshops, Annex D+ events; we also showcased the TFAF Website at these events

The TFAF Brochure was distributed at the WTO Public Forum, Implementation Support Trade Fair, and all WTO training events.

The WTO Secretariat issued a new publication on the practices and challenges of the NTFC. The TFAF and donor brochures were updated.

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Insufficient sustainable predictable funding
  • Technical training does not convert to political commitment

OUTPUT 3.2 Meetings with Members

Number of meetings held





TFAF Secretariat Annual Report


OUTPUT 3.3 Workshops/events with Parliament, ministries, national stakeholders/taskforce, Geneva delegates

Number of events held


50 Parliamentarians in 4 parliamentarian regional seminars,

2 Nationals (Montenegro, Kyrgyz Republic),

3 WCO workshops

4 regional workshops (SACU, CEFTA and 2 advance courses) and 3 nationals (Bolivia, Thailand (2))

4 regional workshops (Int. Forum, TF and A4T Korea, Miami; LDC Priorities Indonesia.

3 national workshops (Moldova, El Salvador, Ecuador). 2 thematic sessions.

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report



OUTCOME 4: Members have submitted TFA Section II notifications


50 category A notifications*

Cat. B: 0

Cat. C: 0

Category A: 25 to make a total of 75

Cat. A: 16 to make a total of 90

Cat. B: 6

Cat. C: 6

Cat. A: 12 Cat. B: 29

Cat. C: 21


Cat. A: 102

Cat. B: 35

Cat. C: 27


TFAF website

WTO TF Committee Minutes

  • Political challenges – i.e. change in government, national priorities, or economic strategy

OUTPUT 4.1: Consultations with governments and delegations

Number of meetings held





TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Lack of demand by developing and LDC Members

OUTPUT 4.2: Briefings/events for governments and delegations

Number of events





TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Lack of demand by developing and LDC Members

OUTCOME 5: Members have overview of necessary changes to domestic rules and regulations for alignment with TFA

(Identification of category A, B and C commitments)

Number of Members with overview of necessary changes (based on needs assessments and other events)


96 total needs assessments plus

97 total. 1 conducted in 2016 (Needs Assessment for Suriname)

99 total. 2 conducted in 2017.

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Technical training does not convert to political commitment

OUTPUT 5.1: Needs assessments

No. of assessments


(Some countries needed 2 assessments after negotiations were concluded based on TFA final text)

96 total

3 conducted in 2015

97 total

1 conducted in 2016 (Needs Assessment for Suriname)

99 total

2 conducted in 2017

Needs assessment results

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

ABC notifications received

  • Insufficient sustainable predictable funding

OUTPUT 5.2: Briefings/events for national stakeholders/taskforce

No. of events



2 advance courses (61 people from 60 different countries were trained, involving stakeholders from government agencies, private sectors)

2 advance courses (61 people from 60 different countries were trained, involving stakeholders from government agencies, private sectors)

TFAF Secretariat Annual Report

  • Insufficient sustainable predictable funding