India ratifies Trade Facilitation Agreement of WTO

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India   has formally ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) trade facilitation agreement, which will help India further boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and supporting its integration into the global economy. 

India's Permanent Representative to the WTO,  Anjali Prasad has handed over the instrument of acceptance to WTO director-general Roberto Azevedo. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA, which will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO 162 members formally accepted the Agreement.

What is Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) ?

The TFA was agreed upon at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013. The agreement aims at expediting the movement and clearance of goods  and establishing effective cooperation between customs and other authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.

Features of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA)

♦ Decreasing import tariffs and agricultural subsidies :The agreement would abolish hard import quotas on agricultural products and provide faster customs clearance to perishable goods as fruits, flowers and vegetables.

♦ Abolish hard import quotas: Developed countries would abolish hard import quotas on agricultural products from the developing world and instead would only be allowed to charge tariffs on amount of agricultural imports exceeding specific limits. 

♦ Reduction in red tape at international borders: Under TFA, every member would reduce red-tapism by minimizing  the proof documents and clearance required for customs clearance.

Comment :According to WTO’s flagship World Trade Report released on 26 October 2015, implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to 1 trillion US dollar per annum.

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