India’s National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP), which aims to cut cargo release time for exports and imports as part of measures to boost goods trade, has been described by the World Customs Organisation (WCO) as a ‘best practice’ other nations can adopt.
The WCO was impressed by the fact that as many as 51 of the 76 activities mentioned in the NTFAP “go beyond” the implementation requirements of the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). They (51 activities of the NTFAP) have been termed as “TFA Plus” activities.
Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Thursday (20/07/2017) released the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP).
The Action Plan aims to:
- transform cross-border clearance ecosystem;
- to achieve improvement in ease of doing business by reducing cargo release time and cost;
- promote paperless regulatory environment;
- promote transparent and predictable legal regime; and
- improve investment climate through better infrastructure.
With the release of this Action Plan, India looks forward to ensure compliance with the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The Action Plan gives a time bound map, not only for implementing TFA, but also for India’s initiatives for trade facilitation and Ease of Doing Business which goes beyond TFA.
All actions covered under the plan have been categorized by prioritizing the activities into short term, midterm and long term. The National Plan would be monitored by the Steering Committee (the operational arm of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation) chaired by the Revenue Secretary and the Commerce Secretary.
The NTFAP, which is to be implemented b/w 2017 and 2020, is a part of India’s efforts to improve its ease of doing business ranking. While India’s overall rank in the World Bank’s Doing Business Report is 130, it ranks 144 out of 190 nations in the ‘Trade Across Borders’ category.