23 April 2016 Current Affairs: India on 22 April 2016 ratified the new Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) of World trade Organisation (WTO). WTO ambassador of India, Anjali Prasad, handed over the country’s instrument of acceptance to WTO’s Director-General Roberto Azevêdo.The ratification of the TFA will help India further boost economic growth by reducing trade costs and supporting its integration into the global economy.
Features of Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) : The agreement contains provisions for expediting the movement, release and clearance of goods, including goods in transit which was concluded at the WTO’s 2013 Bali Ministerial Conference. It also sets out measures for effective cooperation between customs and other appropriate authorities on trade facilitation and customs compliance issues.It further contains provisions for technical assistance and capacity building in this area.It will enter into force once two-thirds of the WTO membership has formally accepted the agreement. India is the 76th WTO member to accept the TFA.India submitted its Category A notification to the WTO on 18 March 2016, with an indication of which provisions of the TFA it intends to implement upon entry into force of the Agreement.
Russia : The Russian Federation has become the 77th WTO Member to ratify the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The Russian Federation’s Minister of Economic Development, Alexey Ulyukaev, met with Director-General Roberto Azevêdo on 22 April and presented his country’s TFA instrument of acceptance.
Apart from India, the other countries which ratified the TFA include: Hong Kong China, Singapore, the United States, Mauritius, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, Botswana, Trinidad and Tobago, the Republic of Korea, Nicaragua, Niger, Belize, Switzerland, Chinese Taipei, China, Liechtenstein, Lao PDR, New Zealand, Togo, Thailand, the European Union (on behalf of its 28 member states), the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Pakistan, Panama, Guyana, Côte d’Ivoire, Grenada, Saint Lucia, Kenya, Myanmar, Norway, Viet Nam, Brunei, Ukraine, Zambia, Lesotho, Georgia, Seychelles, Jamaica, Mali, Cambodia and Paraguay, Turkey, Brazil, Macao China, the United Arab Emirates and Samoa.
The TFA broke new ground for developing and least-developed countries in the way it will be implemented. For the first time in WTO history, the requirement to implement the Agreement was directly linked to the capacity of the country to do so. In addition, the Agreement states that assistance and support should be provided to help them achieve that capacity.A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) was also created at the request of developing and least-developed country members to help ensure that they receive the assistance needed to reap the full benefits of the TFA and to support the ultimate goal of full implementation of the new agreement by all members.
Implementation of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) has the potential to increase global merchandise exports by up to 1 trillion US dollar per annum, according to the WTO’s flagship World Trade Report released on 26 October 2015.