India has slowly opened up its market for global goods and its trade to GDP ratio has also increased from a mere 15% to a whopping 35% but however, World Trade Organization’s rigid custom rules make it difficult for developing nations including India to have a steady trade flow. So, that is why the country plans to ratify WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) during the Nairobi meeting starting from December 15th, to make custom rules lenient for accelerating trade growth. According to industry sources, the country is planning to ratify TFA as a “bargaining chip” to attract more investments by improving her ranking in the World Bank’s “ease of doing business” report. (India currently ranks at 130th out of 189 countries but it plans to enter into 100 by this year).
But according to The Hindu, India might not be able to take full advantages of the relaxed rules of TFA available for other developing nations because she has to decide which commitment to implement and at what time. And, by not using all the available protections, India could have a greater loss of chances in implementing all TFA related commitments on time. Thus, according to experts, this lack of safeguard related issues could make other developing nations to drag the country to the WTO’s dispute settlement panel.
One of the many benefits available to developing countries include the power to take enough time in implementing certain commitments and if needed, to seek assistance/guidance/support from donor countries for capacity building. But, the lack of safeguards could thus make India not use TFA related benefits to the full extent which in turn could hurt India’s interests.
The country, on the behalf of the developing and less developed nations, has championed many issues including to find a permanent solution to resolve public stockholding for food security purposes and also, to protect farmers from sudden heaves of import of agricultural products. But, there lies a big difference between developed and the third world countries on issues which are of high importance to India. So, she finds herself in the middle of the first and the third world as ratifying the TFA at an early stage means that she could lost yet another bargaining chip.
Source: The Hindu