India improves in UN’s Survey on Digital & Sustainable Trade Facilitation


India has scored 90.32 percent in the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia Pacific’s (UNESCAP) latest Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation.

A Finance Ministry statement said this was a remarkable jump from 78.49 percent in 2019.

After the evaluation of 143 economies, the 2021 survey has highlighted India’s significant improvement in the scores on all 5 key indicators.

In terms of transparency, India scored 100 percent in 2021 and 95.83 percent in terms of formalities.

Regarding institutional arrangement and cooperation, India scored 88.89 percent and in the parameter of paperless trade the score was 96.3 percent.

The score for cross-border paperless trade was 66.67 percent in 2021.

The survey notes that India is the best-performing country when compared to South and South West Asia region (63.12 percent) and Asia Pacific region (65.85 percent).

The overall score of India has also been found to be greater than many OECD countries including France, the UK, Canada, Norway, Finland, and the overall score is greater than the average score of the European Union.

In terms of “women in trade”, India scored 66 percent.

The Ministry statement noted that CBIC, has been at forefront of path-breaking reforms under the umbrella of ‘Turant’ Customs to usher in a Faceless, Paperless and Contactless Customs by way of a series of reforms.

This has had a direct impact in terms of the improvement in the UNESCAP rankings on digital and sustainable trade facilitation.

Further, during the Covid-19 pandemic, Customs formations have made all efforts to expedite Covid related imports such as Oxygen-related equipment, life-saving medicines, vaccines among others.

A dedicated single window Covid-19 24/7 helpdesk for EXIM trade was created on the CBIC website to facilitate quick resolution of issues faced by importers.

The Global Survey on Digital and Sustainable Trade Facilitation is conducted every two years by UNESCAP.

The 2021 Survey includes an assessment of 58 trade facilitation measures covered by the WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement.

The survey is keenly awaited globally as it evidences whether or not the trade facilitation measures being taken have the desired impact and helps draw comparison amongst countries.

A higher score for a country also helps businesses in their investment decisions.