On 27 October 2016, the WTO announced that the Philippines has ratified the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), becoming the 95th member of the WTO to do so. The Philippines’ instrument of acceptance was submitted to the WTO on 27 October 2016. The TFA will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement. The Philippines’ acceptance means over 86 per cent of the ratifications needed for entry into force have now been received.
Concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference, the TFA 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. On 31 July 2014, the Philippines submitted its Category A notification to the WTO outlining which substantive provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement.