KEPSA took part in a workshop organised by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Trade in collaboration with UNCTAD held on 20th and 21st May, 2015 at the Hilton Hotel, Nairobi.
The aim of the workshop was to have members of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) which is made up of stakeholders from government and private sector representatives, develop the work plan and terms of reference of the committee. Speaking during the meeting, Celine Bacrot a UNCTAD expert said the process is an important step in the implementation process of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). “The establishment of the NTFC is a binding obligation and must be implemented upon entry into force of the TFA” added Celine.
Members were also briefed that KEPSA, also a member of the NTFC and KRA will co-chair the committee for a period of two years.
The TFA was one of the major deliverables of the World Trade Organisation (WTO’s) Ministerial Conference in Bali, 2013. The Agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.
The Agreement needs ratification by at least two-thirds of the WTO members accepting the Protocol of Amendment before the TFA can be inserted as among the Agreements in Annex 1A of the WTO Agreement to make it binding on those ratifying it. Given that the 10th Ministerial Conference will be taking place in December this year in Nairobi, members of the NTFC were hopeful that the TFA can enter into force by then as a symbolic achievement. However, the ratification process is domestic and differs from country to country.
So far only four WTO member countries; Hong Kong-China, Singapore, the United States and Mauritius have ratified the TFA.
Kenya and members of the East African Community have already made their Category A notifications (Category A contains provisions that a developing country Member or a least developed country Member designates for implementation upon entry into force of the Agreement ) by 31st March, 2015.