Hailing the trade facilitation agreement reached by the World Trade Organisation (WTO) members after hectic parleys, India Inc and exporters today said these will help developing countries like India to reduce transaction cost and improve competitiveness of domestic industry.
"The WTO Agreement on trade facilitation will make life much easier for Indian exporters since the pact will ensure uniform, transparent and efficient transactions at the customs and port operations across the world," Chairman of engineering exporters' body EEPC India Anupam Shah said.
"Our efficiency and transaction costs will improve by leaps and bounds, once the agreement comes into operation", Shah added.
After four days of marathon negotiations at Indonesian island city of Bali, Trade Ministers from 159 countries agreed on the Bali Ministerial Declaration yesterday, which comprises of texts on trade facilitation, food security and development and LDC issues.
"While agreement on food security will ensure a fair deal for the subsistence farmers and the vulnerable sections in the developing countries, the deal on trade facilitation will improve efficiency at the international trade borders and reduce the transaction costs, particularly for the Indian exporters," Assocham Secretary General D S Rawat said.
This is the first such agreement since the World Trade Organisation (WTO) was set up way back in 1995.
"We welcome the declaration on trade facilitation, which will not only boost transparency and predictability but also help in reducing transaction cost for businesses across the globe," Deep Kapuria, who led CII's business delegation to the WTO Conference, said yesterday.
As per the draft text of the agreement, each member would be required to promptly publish information regarding issues like importation, exportation and transit procedures in a non-discriminatory and easily accessible manner in order to enable governments, traders and other interested parties to become acquainted with them.
"We are very happy with the agreement on trade facilitation that would help in reducing transaction costs, cutting red tape, improving transparency besides simplifying and streamlining customs and port procedures," Ficci President Naina Lal Kidwai said.
In recent years, India has undertaken reforms to simplify and modernise its trade procedures. As a developing country, India will be entitled to adequate transition time for implementing the Trade Facilitation Agreement.
As per the agreement, the member nations will have to set up a clearly defined work programme within the next 12 months on the remaining Doha Development Agenda issues and build on the decisions taken at the Bali conference especially with regard to agriculture, development and least developed countries (LDCs).