India has significantly improved its ranking in terms of trade facilitation due to various reforms undertaken by various departments especially customs under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes (CBIC). India has scored 90.32 per cent in United Nation’s Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, a finance ministry statement said.
The survey hails this as a remarkable jump from 78.49 per cent in 2019, it said. The Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is conducted every two years by UNESCAP. The 2021 survey includes an assessment of 58 trade facilitation measures covered by the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement. After evaluation of 143 economies, the 2021 survey has highlighted India’s significant improvement in the scores on all five key indicators… Transparency improved to 100 per cent in 2021 from 93.33 per cent in 2019, formalities rose to 95.83 per cent in 2021 from 87.5 per cent in 2019 while institutional arrangement and cooperation jumped improved to 88.89 per cent in 2021 from 66.67 per cent in 2019.
Other parameters like paperless trade improved to 96.3 per cent in 2021 from 81.48 per cent in 2019 while cross-border paperless trade improved to 66.67 per cent in 2021 from 55.56 per cent in 2019, it said. The survey notes that India is the best performing country when compared to south and south west Asia region (63.12 per cent) and Asia Pacific region (65.85 per cent), it said. “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 EU. India has achieved a 100 per cent score for the Transparency index and 66 per cent in the Women in trade component,” it said.
Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) 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, the finance ministry statement said. This has had a direct impact in terms of the improvement in the UNESCAP rankings on digital and sustainable trade facilitation, it said. Further, during the COVID-19 pandemic, customs formations have made all efforts to expedite COVID related imports such as oxygen related equipments, life-saving medicines and vaccines, it said. A dedicated single window COVID-19 24*7 helpdesk for EXIM trade was created on the CBIC website to facilitate quick resolution of issue(s) faced by importers, it added.