The “Trade Facilitation Agreement” (TFA), the first multilateral agreement in the WTO’s 21-year history, ratified by 2/3rd members of WTO to become a reality. 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, said Ralhan, is its resolve to harmonize global rules for the movement, clearance and release of goods. It will make trade-related administration easier and less costly, thus helping to provide an important and much needed boost to global economic growth. The Agreement is expected to add to global growth by 0.5 per cent.

The Indian exim community will be immensely benefited with stakeholders consultation mandated before effecting any change. There will be considerable lead time available, before implementing a change, which will by and large address the problems of the shipments which are in the pipeline and presently get stuck due to policy procedural changes, said Federation of Indian Export Organizations (FIEO) Chief.

TFA will also require setting up of the enquiry points which will bridge the infoplarmation gap which exists particularly for small & medium companies. The rationalization of the charges levied by different agencies will also help in reducing the transaction cost. Ralhan, however, said that TFA should not be expected to address the rising protectionism in the world. However, there are instruments, which already exist in the WTO Agreement to adequately address this concern.