At the 9th Ministerial Conference in Bali, the World Trade Organisation (WTO) agreed on new rules to simplify customs procedures and facilitate trade. It also agreed certain issues relating to trade in agriculture and matters of interest to the WTO’s poorest member countries.

The main focus has been the Agreement on Trade Facilitation, which represents the most significant extension in multilateral trade rules in 15 years. The implementation of these new rules, coupled with investments in improving customs administration, is expected to generate a significant boost to global trade. Research indicates that every dollar spent on improving the regulatory regime affecting trade in the WTO’s poorer countries can increase trade by nearly $700 in these countries.

The benefits of rules on trade facilitation reflect the fact that as traditional obstacles to trade – such as tariffs and other border measures – have decreased, red tape and administrative inefficiencies have become major impediments. This is especially important in a world in which globalised supply chains have become the main driver of trade; around 60% of global trade involves intermediate products, and 30% of world trade involves transactions between affiliates of the same multinational corporation.

Frontier (Australia) works with clients on a broad range of trade policy and related matters. This includes modelling trade policy measures, advising on trade negotiations, trade facilitation and customs reforms, litigation, and transport logistics.

For more information, please contact Marita O’Keeffe at or call on +61 (0)3 9620 4488.

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