India tops in trade facilitation among Asian countries, shows UNESCAP survey

Our Bureau New Delhi | Updated on July 23, 2021

Score jumps to 90.32% in latest survey from 78.49% in 2019

Finance Ministry said on Friday that India’s score has risen significantlyin the United Nation’s Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.

“India has scored 90.32 per cent in United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation. The survey hails this as a remarkable jump from 78.49 per cent in 2019,” a statement by the ministry said. The report is published once in two years.

The survey has evaluated 143 economies in terms of trade facilitation reforms covering five indicators — transparency, formalities, institutional arrangement and cooperation, paperless trade and cross-border paperless trade.

Best performer

The survey noted that India is the best performing country when compared to South and South-West Asia region (63.12 per cent) and Asia-Pacific region (65.85 per cent). The overall score of India has also been found to be greater than many OECD countries including France, UK, Canada, Norway, Finland, etc and the overall score is greater than the average score of EU. India has achieved a 100 per cent score for the transparency index and 66 per cent in the “Women in trade” component.

Customs lauded

The statement mentioned Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) introduced reforms under the umbrella of ‘Turant’ Customs to usher in a faceless, paperless and contactless Customs. This has had a direct impact in terms of the improvement in the UNESCAP rankings on digital and sustainable trade facilitation. Further, “during the Covid-19 pandemic, Customs formations have made all efforts to expedite Covid-related imports such as oxygen-related equipments, life-saving medicines, vaccines, etc. A dedicated single window Covid-19 24/7 helpdesk for EXIM trade was created on the CBIC website to facilitate quick resolution of issue(s) faced by importers,” the statement said.

M Ajit Kumar, Chairman, CBIC, said that the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF) headed by the Cabinet Secretary and housed by the CBIC has been overseeing many of the stated reforms and was the primary respondents in the survey. “This effort in improving facilitation levels is even greater as it has been achieved largely amidst pandemic,” he said in his weekly newsletter to all officers and employees of CBIC.

Published on July 23, 2021

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