Barbados Ratifies WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation

Secretary General of the WTO Robert Azevedo (left) and Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations, Bentley Gibbs, after the agreement was signed.


BRIDGETOWN, Barbados, Friday February 16, 2018 – Barbados has ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), the first major agreement concluded by all members of the WTO since the establishment of that body in 1995.

The instrument of ratification was formally handed over by Barbados’ Ambassador to the United Nations and other international organizations, Bentley Gibbs, to Secretary General of the WTO Robert Azevedo in Geneva, Switzerland recently.

The TFA contains provisions to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods at the border, with the aim of improving transparency in transactions and reducing the scope for corruption.

The Barbados government said in a statement the implementation of the Agreement would enable the country to remedy existing barriers to trade and investment facilitation and redound to the benefit of the local business community.

“The TFA is unique because it provides special and differential treatment for developing countries. It allows for greater country ownership, giving countries the ability to determine the pace of implementation of the provisions of the Agreement,” it said.

“It also increases Barbados’ possibility to participate in global value chains and provides for technical assistance and capacity building in order to effectively implement the Agreement. As a signatory to the Agreement, Barbados is now in a position to engage donors and other members that have pledged to provide assistance under the Agreement.”

The ratification of the TFA is another step in Barbados’ development of a national trade facilitation roadmap to identify priority reform measures to be mapped to donor interest areas.

The full implementation of the TFA is estimated to reduce global trade costs.  Furthermore, the TFA is forecast to add up to 2.7 per cent a year to world export growth and more than 0.5 per cent a year to world GDP growth by 2030.

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