Cabinet approves trade facilitation agreement

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on January 19, 2018 Published on February 17, 2016

Nirmala Sitharaman, Commerce Minister

Keen on projecting India as a business friendly destination, the Union Cabinet on Wednesday approved the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

“The Union Cabinet has approved the Proposal for Notification of Commitments under the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of WTO, ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of Acceptance of Protocol of TFA to the WTO Secretariat,” said an official release.

To facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the agreement, it also approved setting up of a National Committee on Trade Facilitation that would be chaired jointly by the Commerce and Revenue Secretaries.

“This will improve the ease of doing business,” said Communications and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad after the meeting.

The TFA contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, said the release. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.

The pact was agreed upon at the WTO’s ministerial meeting in Bali in 2013. “We have sought five extra years (from the date of implementation of TFA) to implement measures such as releasing of goods before payment of duty against surety and single window clearance,” Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference after the Union Cabinet approved the proposed ratification of the Trade Facilitation Agreement at the WTO.

While India will seek more time for implementing 152 trade facilitation measures requiring legislative changes out of the 265 measures it would notify to the WTO, it has decided not to seek financial assistance for implementing any measure, the Minister added.

Published on February 17, 2016
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