Europe

Key world trade deal takes effect after countries ratify it

  • Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

  • Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)

    Brazilian Roberto Azevedo, Director General of the World Trade Organization, WTO, informs the media about the Trade Facilitation Agreement, during a press conference at the headquarters of the World Trade Organization, WTO in Geneva, Switzerland, Wednesday, Feb. 22, 2017. (Salvatore Di Nolfi/Keystone via AP)  (The Associated Press)

The World Trade Organization says the first multilateral trade agreement reached by the trade body since it was created over a generation ago has entered into force, aiming to streamline cross-border trade and lower its costs to the benefit of the developing world in particular.

WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo says the required two-thirds of member states have now ratified it.

Azevedo said Wednesday that estimates show full implementation of the deal would reduce trade costs globally by an average of more than 14 percent.

Amid concerns about possible U.S. protectionism under President Donald Trump, Azevedo said he had not spoken with any administration officials on trade, but noted that the U.S. was among the first countries to ratify the agreement.