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WCO welcomes India's progress with its National Trade Facilitation Action Plan

24 julio 2017

At the invitation of the Chairman of India’s Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC), Ms. Vanaja N. Sarna, WCO Secretary General Kunio Mikuriya visited New Delhi, India on 21 and 22 July 2017, where he addressed the Conference on the Trade Facilitation Agreement. 

This event was organized jointly by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), CBEC and the World Bank.  It gave Secretary General Mikuriya the opportunity to meet with political leaders such as the Minister of Finance, Mr. Arun Jaitley.  The Conference was held at FICCI Headquarters and was an occasion to share global experiences and Indian perspectives on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA).  

In his keynote speech at the Conference, Secretary General Mikuriya talked about WCO undertakings in support of the WTO TFA, including the Communiqué issued at the recent WCO Council sessions.  He also congratulated India for providing a model for a National Committee on Trade Facilitation (NCTF), established in October 2016. 

The NCTF is led by the Cabinet Secretary, the highest civil authority, supported by the Steering Committee chaired by the Commerce Secretary and the Revenue Secretary.  The NCTF secretariat is hosted by CBEC and brings together 16 governmental agencies and ministries as well as private sector representatives. 

The NCTF’s Action Plan 2017-2020, which was released in time for the Conference, includes 76 Action Points with policy objectives.  It defines the lead agency and time frames (short-, mid- and long-term), covering the enhancement of Category A measures, Category B measures, and suggestions received from the private sector (India has no Category C measures for which assistance is required).  The Action Plan also includes many activities that go beyond the ambit of the TFA per se and which are defined as TFA Plus.

During his visit, Dr. Mikuriya met with India’s Minister of Finance, Mr. Jaitley, and applauded recent Indian initiatives to introduce a Goods and Services Tax (GST) system administered by CBEC with intensive outreach and to launch the NCTF’s Action Plan, both of which will improve the business environment.  He also expressed his appreciation for India’s contribution to the WCO and sought its continued support, including in the area of Illicit Financial Flows as tasked by the G20.  

In addition, Dr. Mikuriya met with the Revenue Secretary, Dr. Hasmukh Adhia, and with CBEC members to discuss WCO priorities.  He also took the opportunity to meet with the Commerce Secretary, Mr. Ramesh Abhishek, for deliberations on TFA implementation and e-commerce.