What trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion im­plies

Down to Earth - - SPECIAL REPORT -

De­vel­oped coun­tries have for long been push­ing for the in­clu­sion of trade fa­cil­i­ta­tion (TF) in the WTO, a de­mand that In­dia is op­posed to. In 2003, at a meet­ing or­gan­ised by the Economic Com­mis­sion for Europe, In­dia's am­bas­sador, Hardeep S Puri, had ex­plained why TF was best kept out of the WTO. In­dia's stand was roundly sup­ported by other de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

Th­ese coun­tries had "valid and le­git­i­mate" rea­sons for fol­low­ing a "staged path to es­tab­lish an au­ton­o­mous, sus­tain­able trade man­age­ment in­fra­struc­ture", he said. As such, de­vel­op­ing coun­tries had the right to "set their own method­ol­ogy and time frame, within the hu­man and fi­nan­cial re­sources they can spare and mo­bilise, adopt­ing best prac­tices as they think fit."

Al­though the is­sue was be­ing dealt with mul­ti­lat­er­ally at the World Cus­toms Or­gan­i­sa­tion, de­vel­oped coun­tries were suc­cess­ful in bring­ing it into the WTO, to make com­pli­ance manda­tory as part of a sin­gle un­der­tak­ing with all its at­ten­dant rules on bind­ing obli­ga­tions. The Doha Devel­op­ment Agenda does not man­date it.

An­a­lysts say this is not in the best in­ter­ests of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries who do not re­ally need to meet the high­tech stan­dards that de­vel­oped coun­tries fol­low. While com­pli­ance with such stan­dards would be cost-free for the rich na­tions, poor na­tions would be bur­dened with ad­di­tional cap­i­tal costs that would el­bow out the more press­ing re­quire­ments of de­vel­op­ing coun­tries, such as health and ed­u­ca­tion in­fra­struc­ture. In fact, the loans that are be­ing put to­gether by the World Bank for TF would be an ad­di­tional bur­den for de­vel­op­ing coun­tries.

In­dia has on its own mod­ernised its ports and other trade in­fra­struc­ture

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from India

© PressReader. All rights reserved.