Cross Border Trade Current Affairs - 2019

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India to conduct 1st National Time Release Study for faster movement of Cargo

Department of Revenue, under Union Ministry of Finance, is conducting India’s 1st National Time Release Study (TRS) for enabling faster movement of cargo across borders to benefit traders. TRS is an internationally recognized tool advocated by Brussels based World Customs Organization (WCO) to measure efficiency and effectiveness of international trade flows.

National Time Release Study

It is an initiative for accountable governance that will measure rule based and procedural bottlenecks including physical touchpoints in clearance of goods, from time of arrival until physical release of cargo.  It is part of India’s strategic commitment to improve global trade will be conducted between 1- 7 August 2019. However, from now onwards exercise will be institutionalized on an annual basis, during same period every year.

Objective: To identify and address bottlenecks in trade flow process. To take corresponding policy and operational measures required to improve effectiveness and efficiency of border procedures, without compromising efficient trade control.

Expected Beneficiaries: will be export oriented industries and MSMEs (Micro, Small & Medium Enterprises) who will enjoy greater standardization of Indian processes with comparable international standards.

Process Followed:

Earlier individual customs formations had been independently conducting TRS studies at port level. However National TRS have evolved a uniform, multi-dimensional methodology which measures regulatory and logistics aspects of cargo clearance process and establishes average release time for goods.

National TRS will have standardized operations and procedures across all ports and will also establish baseline performance measurement. Exercise will be conducted at same time across 15 ports including sea, air, land and dry ports which together accounts for 81% of total Bills of Entries for import and 67% of Shipping Bills for export filed within India.

Based on results of TRS, government agencies associated with cross border trade will be able to diagnose existing and potential bottlenecks which act as barriers to free flow of trade and thus enabling them to take remedial actions for reducing cargo release time. The initiative is on ground lead by Central Board of Indirect Tax and Customs (CBIC).

Benefits:

This initiative will help India maintain upward trajectory on Ease of Doing Business (EDB), particularly on Trading Across Borders indicator which measures efficiency of cross border trade ecosystem (i.e. time and cost associated with logistical process of exporting and importing goods every year). In 2018 India’s ranking on indicator improved from 146 to 80.

India-Nepal Logistics Summit organised in Kathmandu

India-Nepal Logistics Summit was organised in Kathmandu, Nepal on 28 July 2019. It was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli. Theme for Summit was: Transforming Logistics Landscape.

Highlights of Summit

Participants: included Government representatives and trade community from India and Nepal.

Logistics: Nepal’s Prime Minister stressed upon smooth and quality logistics between India and Nepal. He emphasized that smart logistics plays a crucial role in making trade and transit arrangements easy, hassle-free and cost-effective. Since India and Nepal have significant volume of tourism, trade, investment, and cross border people-to-people movement therefore smooth and quality logistics including easy transit facilities is very essential.

Connectivity remains another topmost agenda in bilateral cooperation and many initiatives have been taken by both the neighbouring countries on crucial components of road, rail, inland waterways and air connectivity.

India also showed its full commitment to providing all necessary support to Nepal in achieving its goal of prosperity.

Importance: Assuring a conducive environment for trade and investment as well as enhanced investment and trade relationship with India is crucial not just because India is Nepal’s biggest trade and investment partner, but also an important route for Nepal for third-country trade.

Significance: It was a 1st of its type event, which brought together government representatives and trade community of both nations to discuss on some of pressing issues related to cross-border trade and logistics of both nations such as need for reducing transit time between Nepali and Indian ports, issues related to tariffs charged by logistics service providers, developing better warehouse facilities in Nepal and need for automation of customs and border clearance etc.