More reports on: Trade

India to ratify WTO trade facilitation pact soon: commerce secretary

09 February 2016

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.

At the same time, Teaotia said that WTO members should move forward on liberalising the services sector as the segment assumes key importance for developing countries like India both as a road for economic growth and employment generation.

Like accelerating the flow of goods, easing the flow of services is also fundamental to removing hurdles to global trade, she said in New Delhi at a function of International Chamber of Commerce.

India, she said, has completed most of the consultation process related to WTO's trade facilitation agreement and the government is expected to ratify it at the ''earliest''.

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.

''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,'' Teaotia said.

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

Teotia also said work on the stalled Doha Development Agenda (DDA) 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 and as it stands, the Doha Round is dead.

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