After its entry into force, the Trade Facilitation Agreement will be binding for parties, but the stages of implementation will vary, depending on whether a country is considered to be a developed country, a developing country or a least developing country (LDC), and how a particular LDC or developing country designates the timing for implementation of a particular measure.
The Trade Facilitation Agreement's (TFA) entry into force requires the acceptance by a two thirds majority of the WTO Member States. Developed countries are under the obligation to implement all provisions of the TFA upon its entry into force.
An important feature is that it provides for special and differential treatment for developing country and LDC members in accordance with their respective implementation capacities. Each developing country and LDC shall self-designate the provisions of the TFA according to categories that will determine the eventual implementation time frames:
- Category A provisions: Implementation upon entry into force;
- Category B provisions: Deferred implementation date; and
- Category C provisions: Deferred implementation date; dependent on acquisition of capacity through technical assistance and support from donors.
The TFA mandates each Member to establish and/or maintain a national committee on trade facilitation or designate an existing mechanism to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of provisions of the TFA.
The International Trade Centre (ITC) has produced a document setting out the timeline for the TFA.