India ratifies WTO’s trade facilitation agreement to boost economic integration


India has formally ratified the World Trade Organization’s (WTO) trade facilitation agreement (TFA) to boost “its integration into the global economy” by improving trade through efficient movement of goods. “The move would supplement India’s ongoing reforms to bring in simplification and enhanced transparency in cross-border trade in goods,” India’s Commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman said.

India’s Permanent Representative to the WTO, Anjali Prasad, has formally presented the instrument of acceptance ratifying the agreement to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevedo in Geneva. “India is one of the most dynamic economies in the world today and has become a top recipient of foreign investment,” Mr Azevedo said. “Ratifying the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement will help India further boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and supporting its integration into the global economy,” he added.

India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA, which will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO’s 162 members formally accepted the agreement. The TFA was agreed upon at the WTO Ministerial Conference in Bali in 2013. The TFA lays down provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. It also provides steps for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues. The TFA also has the provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area. The TFA will come into force once two-thirds of WTO members formally accept the agreement.

The WTO in a statement said that India submitted its “Category A notification” to the WTO indicating which provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the agreement. The implementation of the TFA has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to $1 trillion per year, says the WTO’s 2015 World Trade Report.

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