JAKARTA. Indonesia is ready to ratify the World Trade Organization (WTO) multilateral Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), a top official has said.
Negotiations on the TFA, which aims to ease customs procedures and facilitate the movement, release and clearance of goods, were concluded at the WTO Bali Ministerial Conference in December 2013.
Trade Ministry director general for international trade negotiations Imam Pambagyo said the TFA was in the same spirit as Indonesia's National Single Window (INSW) scheme, that also aims to ease customs clearance and speed up the movement of goods.
"It is still in the process [of ratification]. Hopefully it can be immediately included in the National Legislation Program (Prolegnas). [...] The agreement is in line with our policy," he said on Wednesday in Jakarta.
Indonesia wants the agreement to be implemented by all WTO members to ease export requirements, Iman said. For example, exporting goods to South America or the Middle East obliges Indonesian exporters to report to their embassy first.
"So there is an extra fee to export to some countries because there are additional documents required, in particular to developing countries. Under the TFA, that will be removed. So, basically, the TFA is not about market access issues but trade facilitation," he explained.
WTO directorate general Roberto Carvalho de Azevêdo has estimated that if the agreement was signed by all WTO members trade prices would be cut by around 30 percent. It would also lower barriers in trade overseas and give access to SMEs in the global value chain.
According to him, Indonesia has taken positive steps to improve the movement of goods by cutting dwell times from six days to about four days, although dwell times are still four times longer than those in Singapore.
TFA contains 40 technical measures that signatory nations are required to implement in order to reduce trade costs. Each member is also obliged to publish all information regarding procedures, regulations, fees and charges on the internet.
The agreement covers special provisions to developing countries as well as least-developed countries, which allows them to implement the agreement based on their own assessment, including technical assistance and support for capacity building.
However, to make the agreement obligatory, two-thirds, or 107 of the 161 WTO members of WTO members, must ratify it, said Roberto
Editor: Yudho Winarto