Trade Facilitation Agreement – Special and Differential Treatment for LDCs

Under the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), members committed to categorizing trade facilitation provisions under 3 categories according to their schedule of implementations and capacity-building requirements.  LDCs were granted:

  • Longer periods to notify various categories of commitments: until 22 February 2020 for category B measures; until 22 February 2021 for indicative dates and definitive dates; by 22 August 2022 for category C measures (articles 15 and 16)
  • Longer deadlines under the early warning mechanism, in case an LDC has difficulties in implementing categories B and C measures (article 17)
  • A longer time frame (4 years rather than 18 months) for new implementation dates for measures shifted from category B to category C before approval from the Trade Facilitation Committee is required (article 19)
  • A longer grace period from dispute settlement (until 22 February 2023 for category A measures, and 8 years from the date of implementation of category B or C measures (article 20)

Graduation: Most countries approaching graduation will not graduate before the extended timeline for LDCs has ended, hence graduation will have no impacts for those countries.  According to the WTO, “Angola and Vanuatu may wish to notify their definitive implementation dates for category C commitments (…).” “These two graduating LDCs would also lose access to LDC-specific grace periods for dispute settlement, in particular for category B and C commitments” (WTO/EIF, 2020).