Com Secy: India to soon ratify WTO trade facilitation pact

Tuesday, Feb 9, 2016,14:47 IST By Metrovaartha A A A

New Delhi | India has completed most of the consultation process related with the WTO’s trade facilitation agreement and the government is expected to ratify it at the earliest. Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which was concluded by the WTO in Bali in 2013, aims at easing customs procedures to boost global commerce.

Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia said the agreement is important for boosting trade, simplifying customs rules and reducing the cost of trading. We are fully committed to it. It is a complex exercise and most of the consultation is complete and we believe that we should be able to ratify it at the earliest, she said here at the function of International Chamber of Commerce.

So far over 55 WTO members have ratified this pact, which also contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit. Teaotia also said that WTO members should move forward on liberalising the services sector as the segment assumes key importance for developing countries like India.

The sector is important for developing countries as a road for growth and employment generation, she said adding apart from accelerated flow of goods, the easier flow of services are also fundamental. We believe that just as we have a TFA (in goods), there is a need for us to work towards a services facilitation agreement. This should be the next item of work (in the WTO), the secretary added.

Services sector accounts for about 60 per cent of the India’s economic growth. India, she further said would have to be careful about the domestic policies which would come under greater scrutiny with the rise of GDP.

She said that India needs to develop a roadmap to phase out the agriculture export subsidies. Talking about the stalled Doha Development Agenda (DDA), the secretary said work on it must continue as the decisions taken since 2001 needs to be respected and taken forward.

We believe that without reaching some kind of respectable progress on the DDA, it is difficult to bring in new issues into the the WTO, she said adding in the DDA, there are legitimate interest of poor farmers and food security of millions of people of developing countries.

Developing countries including India wants outcome on the pending Doha Round issues like commitments to cut farm subsidies by the rich nations before we move on to the new items of work, she said. Developed nations including the US wants the WTO to discuss new issues like investments, e-commerce and government procurement.

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