The NTFC is in line with article 23.2 of the Trade Facilitation Agreement which states that each member shall establish or maintain a national committee on trade facilitation or designate an existing mechanism to facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the agreement. The committee also aims at driving the process of complete elimination of Non-Tariff Barriers to Trade (NTBs).
Since the signature of the WTO TFA in Bali in December 2013 and more specifically after Rwanda’s ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement, the Ministry of Trade and Industry together with stakeholders have been implementing TFA.
The following activities have been accomplished :
i) Needs assessments to evaluate Rwanda’s capacity to implement the TFA
Two needs assessments to evaluate Rwanda’s capacity and readiness to implement the TFA were conducted with the support from TMEA (2014) and IFC/World Bank Group (2015). The result of the two assessments was the development and adoption of the national implementation plan with the categorization of measures under three categories (A, B, and C). The assessments also helped to determine the possible gaps for the smooth implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
ii) Ratification of the TFA by Rwanda
The law authorizing the protocol amending the Marrakesh agreement establishing the World Trade Organization to insert the trade facilitation agreement as annex 1A was gazetted as Law Nº001/01 of 16/01/2017. The instruments of ratification were submitted to WTO on 2nd February 2017 allowing the TFA to come into force few days later on 22nd February 2018.
iii) Notification of A, B and C category measures to WTO secretariat
On 31st March 2015, MINICOM notified to WTO Secretariat A measures category that Rwanda is ready to implement. Further, on 31st May 2018, Rwanda notified B and C measures to WTO secretariat. In total 18 measures were notified under A category (26.9% of all total measures), 14 under B category (56.3%) and 7 under C measures (16.8%)
iv) Establishment of the National Trade Facilitation Committee (NTFC) : The establishment of a NTFC was officially launched on 30th September 2016.
The NTFC is composed of 30 members.The Committee is chaired by the PS MINICOM, co-chaired by Rwanda Revenue Authority (RRA) while the Private Sector Federation (PSF) exercises the responsibility of the secretary to the committee.
The NTFC has 3 sub-committees namely NTBs (plus SPS and TBTs), Access to market and B-C measures.
v) Development of Rwanda Trade Information Portal
The Rwanda Trade Information Portal has been developed in line with Art. 1.2 and is hosted by RRA. The portal was developed with support from TMEA and technical assistance by UNCTAD.
On 29th March 2018, Rwanda launched the portal whose aim is to support trade facilitation in Rwanda by generating and disseminating transparent information on strategic export, import and transit procedures.
The portal can be accessed at http://rwandatrade.rw
vi) Activity 6