UNCTAD Current Affairs - 2020

India hosts World Customs Organization RCP meeting of Asia Pacific

India hosted the World Customs Organization (WCO) Asia Pacific Regional Contact Points (RCP) that was held for 3 three days on Puducherry. The conference is being held for the fourth time in India. Previously it was held in Jaipur and Cochin.

Highlights

  • International Organizations like UNCTAD, Global Alliance on Trade Facilitation (GATF) participated in the conference. They presented the best practices that are involved in customs procedures.
  • The conference also discussed about the key focus areas of the Asia Pacific Region. It includes security, enforcement, facilitation and capacity building.

World Customs Organization

  • The World Customs Organization is an inter-governmental Organization that is involved in setting up principles and standards especially for cross border procedures and customs.
  • The headquarters of WCO is located in Brussels.
  • The Organization has divided the world into 6 regions to make the rules across borders of these regions easier.
  • India is a member of the organization.

Significance

  • The Asia Pacific accounts to 37% of the world’s GDP.
  • Also, the region is important for India as it is trying to increase its trade and investment in the region. India is achieving this through its Act East Policy.
  • The development of North East Region is also linked with India’s interests in Asia Pacific. India is finding markets in the region for the export of goods from North East.
  • It is also essential for India to increase its presence in the region as China has larger interests in the region especially in the markets of the region.

World Investment Report 2019: UNCTAD

According to the World Investment Report 2019, released by United Nation Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) inflows to India grew by 6% to USD 42 billion in 2018. India was ranked among the top 20 host economies for FDI inflows in 2017-18.

Key Findings of Report

FDI to India: It grew by 6% to $42 billion in 2018 saw strong inflows in manufacturing, financial services sectors, communication and cross-border merger and acquisition activities.

FDI inflow to South Asia: It increased 3.5% to $54 billion dollars. It highlighted that the prospects for FDI inflows into South Asia are largely determined by expectations of growing investment into India. India has historically accounted for 70% to 80% of inflows that came to the South Asian region. Among other countries in South Asian region, FDI flows to Sri Lanka and Bangladesh rose to record level, to $1.6 billion and $3.6 billion respectively, but Pakistan witnessed a 27% decline in investment to $2.4 billion.

About UNCTAD

It was established in 1964 for integrated treatment of trade and development and related issues in areas of investment, finance, technology, enterprise development and sustainable development. It is organ of UN General Assembly (UNGA). There are 195 members in UNCTAD. Its mandate is to maximize trade, investment and development opportunities of developing countries and assist them in their efforts towards integrating into world economy on an equitable basis without any bias.