India has substantially improved its score on a trade facilitation survey conducted by the United Nations for a total of 143 countries, scoring 90.32 per cent in the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific’s (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, and improving from 78.49 per cent in 2019.
In its evaluation of 143 economies, the Survey for 2021 has pointed out India’s improvement in the scores on all five key indicators — transparency, formalities, institutional arrangement and cooperation, paperless trade and cross-border paperless trade.
Under the transparency indicator, India scored 100 per cent in 2021, up from 93.33 per cent in 2019. The score for ‘paperless trade’ improved to 96.3 per cent from 81.48 per cent, while that for institutional arrangement and cooperation indicator rose to 88.89 per cent from 66.67 per cent.
The survey is conducted every two years by UNESCAP and includes an assessment of 58 trade facilitation measures covered by the World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. A higher score for a country helps businesses in their investment decisions. These 58 measures include publications of existing import-export rules on internet, risk management, advance ruling on tariff classification, pre-arrival processing, independent appeal mechanism expedited shipments, automated customs system, among others.
“The CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) has been at forefront of path breaking reforms under the umbrella of ‘Turant’ Customs to usher in a Faceless, Paperless and Contactless Customs by way of a series of reforms. This has had a direct impact in terms of the improvement in the UNESCAP rankings on digital and sustainable trade facilitation,” according to the Finance Ministry.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, Customs formations worked to expedite imports such as oxygen-related equipment, life-saving medicines, vaccines etc, the statement said. The CBIC also created a dedicated single window to facilitate quick resolution of issues faced by importers, it added.
Quoting the survey, the Finance Ministry said India is the best performing nation when compared to the South and South West Asia region (63.12 per cent) and Asia Pacific region (65.85 per cent). “The overall score of India has also been found to be greater than many OECD countries including France, UK, Canada, Norway, Finland etc. and the overall score is greater than the average score of EU,” it said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines