Commerce Ministry to seek Cabinet approval for WTO pact soon

Sunday, Jan 3, 2016,12:55 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | The Commerce Ministry will soon seek the Cabinet’s approval for the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement (TFA), which aims at easing customs procedures to boost commerce.

The ministry has received comments on the draft Cabinet note from all the departments and now the final note would be soon sent for Cabinet’s consideration, an official said.

The agreement (TFA) aims at simplifying customs rules, increasing transparency and reducing transaction costs for traders. As part of the agreement, India would take further steps to ease customs procedures to boost trade.

The steps include faster clearance to consignments at ports and moving towards paperless trading, the official said, adding India is fully committed to honour its international obligations and is working on its notification commitments for ratifying the TFA.

In 2014, India had decided not to join the consensus at WTO on TFA implementation till its concerns on implementation of public stockholding for the food security purpose were addressed.

But once that was done through a decision of WTO’s General Council, the highest decision-making body of the organisation, India joined the consensus on implementing TFA.

The agreement will enter into force once two-thirds of WTO members complete their domestic ratification process. So far over 55 WTO members have ratified this pact, which was concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference.

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

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