India has made significant progress in its ranking in terms of cross-border trade, according to a UN survey that tracked 143 countries on key trade facilitation criteria over two years.
The improvement came about due to several reforms undertaken by various departments particularly customs under the Central Board of Indirect Taxes or CBIC.
As per the latest UN Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, India's ranking jumped from 78.49% in 2019 to 90.32% in 2021. The bi-annual survey deals with trade facilitation measures taken by countries.
"India has scored 90.32% in United Nation's Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific's (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation. The Survey hails this as a remarkable jump from 78.49% in 2019," the Union Finance Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
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 the south and southwest Asia region (63.12 per cent) and the Asia Pacific region (65.85 per cent).
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"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.
CBIC has been at forefront of path-breaking reforms under the umbrella of ''Turant'' Customs to usher in 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 equipment, life-saving medicines and vaccines, it said.
A dedicated single window COVID-19 24x7 helpdesk for EXIM trade was created on the CBIC website to facilitate quick resolution of issue(s) faced by importers, it added.
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