The World Trade Organization (WTO) Agreement on Trade Facilitation (TFA) is an important topic for the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC) exam. It is a global trade agreement that aims to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and regulations to reduce trade barriers and increase cross-border trade.
The TFA was adopted at the WTO’s Ninth Ministerial Conference in Bali, Indonesia, in 2013. The agreement is the first global trade agreement concluded since the establishment of the WTO in 1995 and has been ratified by over 100 WTO members, including major trading nations such as the United States, China, and the European Union.
The TFA contains measures that aim to improve the speed, efficiency, and transparency of customs procedures, including the following:
1. Advance rulings: Customs authorities are required to provide advance rulings on the classification of goods, the origin of goods, and other customs-related matters to ensure predictability and transparency.
2. Publication and availability of information: Customs authorities must publish information about customs procedures, regulations, and fees to ensure transparency and accessibility.
3. Simplification and harmonization of customs procedures: Customs procedures must be simplified and harmonized to reduce trade barriers and increase predictability.
4. Single window: The establishment of a single window, or a single electronic platform, through which traders can submit all necessary documentation to satisfy import and export requirements.
The TFA is expected to have a significant impact on trade and development, particularly for developing countries. It is estimated that the TFA could reduce trade costs by up to 14.3% for low-income countries and up to 10% for middle-income countries, resulting in increased trade, investment, and economic growth.
In conclusion, understanding the WTO Agreement on Trade Facilitation is crucial for UPSC aspirants who want to stay up to date on global trade developments. The TFA aims to simplify and harmonize customs procedures and regulations, reduce trade barriers, and increase cross-border trade. Its implementation is expected to have a significant impact on trade and development, particularly for developing countries.
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