India best-performing nation in South Asian region in terms of trade facilitation: UNESCAP

NEW DELHI: India is now the best-performing nation amongst all the countries of South Asian region in terms of trade facilitation, as per the United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s (UNESCAP) report.
As per the Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation, India improved its score compared to 2021 survey.
The 2023 survey, covering more than 140 economies and evaluating 60 trade facilitation measures, has positioned India at the forefront of global trade facilitation efforts, with an impressive score of 93.55 per cent in 2023 vis a vis 90.32 per cent in 2021.
The 2023 survey has recognised India’s exceptional progress across various sub indicators, with the country achieving a perfect score of 100 per cent in four key areas: Transparency, Formalities, Institutional Arrangement and Cooperation, and Paperless Trade.
These remarkable scores are a testament to India’s relentless efforts in streamlining trade processes, enhancing transparency, and promoting cooperation among stakeholders through initiatives such as Turant Customs, Single Window Interface for Facilitation of Trade (SWIFT), Pre-Arrival data processing, e- Sanchit, Coordinated Border Management etc.
India has witnessed a substantial improvement in the score for ‘Women in Trade Facilitation’ component from 66.7 per cent in 2021 to 77.8 per cent in 2023, thereby indicating commitment to gender inclusivity and the empowerment of women in the trade sector.
“India is now the best performing country amongst all the countries of South Asia region. The overall score of India has been greater than many developed countries including Canada, France, UK, Germany etc,” the finance ministry said in a statement citing report.
As evidenced in the following graph, India’s overall score has continued to improve year by year indicating strong commitment to further enhancing ease of doing business by undertaking next generational trade facilitation measures.
The survey conducted by UNESCAP covers WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) along with a set of nearly 60 trade facilitation measures categorized into eleven sub-groups, namely: Transparency; Formalities; Institutional arrangement and cooperation; Transit facilitation; Paperless trade; Cross-border paperless trade; Trade facilitation for SMEs; Agricultural trade facilitation and Women in trade facilitation; Trade finance for trade facilitation; and Trade facilitation in times of crisis.
The survey is fact-based rather than perception-based. A three-step approach to data collection and validation is generally followed, implemented over 6-month period every two years.
The survey reflects the efficacy of trade facilitation measures taken by Indian Customs such as Turant Customs comprising of Faceless Customs, Paperless Customs and Contact less Customs, in enhancing India’s ease of doing business and promote trade facilitative environment in the country, it added.

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