The Commerce secretary called on Latin American countries to fully implement the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement during a speech Tuesday, where he also stressed the benefits of trading with the United States, rather than China.
“On average, it takes 8.2 days to clear goods through Latin American borders, with compliance costs averaging $800 per container,” Ross said at the Council of the Americas' annual meeting. “Whereas in the United States, clearance takes an average of nine hours and costs about $275 per container. Therefore, the WTO trade facilitation agreement needs to be fully implemented in the region.”
The TFA, which was approved at the Bali ministerial in 2013 and went into force last year, is intended to make moving goods across border easier and cheaper by reducing red tape and streamlining customs. Twenty-nine of the 34 countries in the Western Hemisphere have already ratified the agreement, and Ross expressed hope that the remaining five would follow suit. Those are Colombia, Ecuador, Haiti, Suriname and Venezuela, according to WTO.