A significant jump in trade facilitation scored India 90.32 percent from 78.49 percent in 2019 in the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation by United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific (UNESCAP).
The 2021 survey conducted by UNESCAP includes an assessment of 58 trade facilitation measures of 143 countries by the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.
The improvement in India’s ranking correlates with the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC) reforms undertaken by the customs departments.
A statement by the Finance Ministry said that the survey highlights’ India’s improvement on all the five key indicators. “Transparency improved to 100 percent in 2021 from 93.33 percent in 2019, formalities rose to 95.83 percent in 2021 from 87.5 percent in 2019 while institutional arrangement and cooperation jumped improved to 88.89 percent in 2021 from 66.67 percent in 2019.
It also highlighted other significant parameters like the improved paperless trade from 81.48 percent in 2019 to 96.3 percent in 2021.
Apart from this, cross-border paperless trade also saw improvement from 55.56 percent in 2019 to 66.67 percent in 2021.
India is the best-performing country compared to the Southwest Asia region, which is at 63.12 percent, and the Asia Pacific region at 65.85 percent.
“CBIC (Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs) has been at the 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,” the statement read.
“The overall score of India has also been found to be greater than many Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries including France, the UK, Canada, Norway, Finland, etc.
And the overall score is greater than the average score of the EU. India has achieved a 100 percent score for the Transparency index and 66 percent in the Women in trade component,” it said.
The release said that the CBIC website created a COVID-19 helpdesk window for EXIM trade during the pandemic to effectively resolve the issues(s) faced by the importers.
Imports concerning equipment related to oxygen during the second wave of the pandemic this year and life-saving vaccines and drugs were smoothly operated, according to the release.