Millennium Post

WTO trade facilitation will help developing world the most: FIEO

WTO trade facilitation will help developing world the most: FIEO
The WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA), which aims to ease customs rules among countries, will most benefit developing countries, the Indian exporters' body said on Thursday.

The TFA, which is the first multilateral agreement achieved by the World Trade Organisation in its 21-year history, came into effect on Wednesday following its ratification by two-thirds of the members of the WTO.

"TFA is expected to reduce trade costs by an average of 14.3 per cent, with developing countries reaping most of the gains TFA's main feature," the Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) President S.C. Ralhan said in a statement here.

"The Indian exim community will be immensely benefited. It will make trade-related administration easier and less costly, thus helping to provide an important and much needed boost to global economic growth," he said.

"The Agreement is expected to add to global growth by 0.5 per cent," he added.

According to the Indian exporters' body, the TFA, by and large, addresses the problems of the shipments which are in the pipeline and get stuck due to policy procedural changes.

Noting that once TFA is fully implemented, developing countries are predicted to increase the number of new products exported by as much as 20 per cent, the Geneva-headquartered WTO said in a statement: "The entry into force of this agreement, which seeks to expedite the movement, release and clearance of goods across borders, launches a new phase for trade facilitation reforms all over the world and creates a significant boost for commerce and the multilateral trading system as a whole."

"This would boost global trade by up to 1 trillion dollars each year, with the biggest gains being felt in the poorest countries. The impact will be bigger than the elimination of all existing tariffs around the world."

The TFA became possible following India's agreement with the US in 2014 on the contentious issue of public stockpiling of food. Thereafter, the WTO's Bali Ministerial Conference came up with the "Peace Clause" that permitted uninterrupted implementation of India's food security programme indefinitely till a permanent solution is found by the multilateral trade system.

Meanwhile, India has presented a paper at the WTO for a proposed Trade Facilitation in Services (TFS) Agreement, which has been well received by many member countries, WTO Director General Roberto Azevedo told reporters here during a visit earlier this month.

At a time when global trade continues to be impacted by the economic slowdown, Indian exports continued with their revival for the fifth month in a row. Indian merchandise shipments overseas at $22.12 billion in January 2017 registered an uptick of 4.32 per cent, over the $21.20 billion exported in January 2015, official data showed last week.


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