Cabinet approves WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement

The union cabinet chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi has approved the ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of Acceptance of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) protocol of the World Trade Organisation (WTO). This will lead to notification of commitments under TFA to the WTO secretariat and constitution of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), a cabinet release stated today.

India is committed to ratifying the World Trade Organisation's (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on goods aimed at easing customs rules to expedite trade flows, commerce secretary Rita Teaotia said. She said the agreement is important for boosting trade, simplifying customs rules and reducing the cost of trading.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement 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. These objectives are in consonance with India's ''Ease of Doing Business'' initiative.

The Trade Facilitation Agreement shall enter into force for the notified members upon acceptance by two-third WTO members.

To facilitate both domestic coordination and implementation of the provisions of the agreement, a National Committee on Trade Facilitation would be set up under the joint chair of secretary, Department of Revenue and secretary, Department of Commerce.

India has completed most of the consultation process related to WTO's Trade Facilitation Agreement. TFA, which contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit, aims at easing customs procedures to boost global commerce.

So far over 55 WTO members have ratified this pact after the pact was concluded at the WTO meeting in Bali in 2013.