Implementation of the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in India will reduce red tape, provide access to international best practice and make doing business easier, according to a minister in the country's government.
Speaking at a Consultative Committee Meeting on the implementation of the TFA, Nirmala Sitharaman, minister of state (Independent Charge) for commerce & industry, said that ratification of the agreement, which happened at the end of last month, would also bring more transparency to the trade process.
The minister said that industry and its various associations would be consulted while implementing the different provisions of the TFA.
Sitharaman added that while India had made rapid strides in streamlining processes on the line of international best practices, there was a need to ensure speedy legislation in several areas.
Member countries would simplify trade procedures and help promote cross border trade, bring greater predictability to traders and boost the climate for investment, she added.
The TFA would also allow domestic manufacturers, particularly SMEs, to connect more easily to regional and Global Value Chains.
Sitharaman said that TFA provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, and measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities, were in line with India’s ‘ease of doing business’ initiative.
The meeting also heard a detailed presentation on the TFA and the issues concerning its implementation by joint secretary, ministry of commerce, Dammu Ravi.
He outlined the three parts of the agreement including simplification of border clearance procedures, special needs of developing countries for implementing the TFA, and the mechanism for setting-up a National Committee on Trade Facilitation for domestic cooperation and implementation, a process that India has initiated.
The meeting also heard other concerns raised, including protecting domestic industries and setting up treatment plants to deal with dumped drugs.
The TFA will come into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the Agreement. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA. The WTO has 162 members.