Senegal and Uruguay have become the latest countries to ratify the World Trade Organization's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in a further sign of support for the landmark global deal. 

The first multilateral trade agreement in the WTO's 20-year history will reduce trade barriers and eliminate border transaction costs for companies around the world, and will go into effect when ratified by two-thirds (108) of the WTO's 164 member countries.

The latest submissions by Senegal and Uruguay mean nearly 85% of the total ratifications needed to bring the TFA 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.

According to the WTO's flagship World Trade Report published in October last year, implementation of the TFA has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to US$1 trillion per annum. The report also found that developing countries will benefit significantly from the TFA, capturing more than half of the available gains.