News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

July 2021

Commentary: India's Integrated Check Posts Are Boosting Regional Connectivity But Challenges Remain

Ms. Riya Sinha, researcher for Research Associate at the Centre for Social and Economic Progress, New Delhi, looks at the increasing trade and passenger movement between India and neighbors Nepal, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and examines Delhi's push for border infrastructure development. This is an excerpt from a piece that appears on The Print.

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Tags: India, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Regional Integration, South Asia

October 2019

Commentary: Let’s Make It Easier for Countries to Trade

Trade is one of the engines of Asia’s economic growth. Amid these challenging times for trade, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) supports trade reforms in Asia and the Pacific. In South Asia, ADB is supporting the South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program to simplify trade documentation, promote automation in border agencies, develop a national single window platform, and develop trade-related infrastructure.

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Tags: National Single Window, SASEC, South Asia, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

June 2019

Bangladesh-Sri Lanka Trade Ties to Grow

Sri Lanka and Bangladesh are set to sign a free trade agreement, which is expected to increase bilateral trade between the two countries. Trade is expected to grow at a steady pace with the planned FTA, says Bangladesh High Commissioner to Sri Lanka Mr. Riaz Hamidullah.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement

October 2018

Speech: How Global Trade Can Promote Growth for All

Heads of the World Trade Organization (WTO), the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development issued calls to bring a new focus on trade and the multilateral trading system to drive growth around the world. In this speech given in Bali, Indonesia, on 10 October 2018, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo discusses the need to cooperate on trade issues to promote growth for all.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation Agreement, World Bank, WTO

October 2018

Sri Lanka's Trade Information Portal Garners Highest Level of Data Accuracy

The Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal (SLTIP) has garnered the highest level of data accuracy among World Bank-assisted information portals, with 98.8% of its total content validated for accuracy. The SLTIP is a one-stop gateway for information on trading to and from Sri Lanka, containing basic information on import, export, and transit requirements and procedures, along with customs forms and documents.

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Tags: Customs, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, World Bank, WTO

August 2018

India Activating Regional Connectivity through TIR Implementation

India began implementation of the United Nations TIR Convention to transform the country’s trade and transport by activating regional connectivity and advancing global trade prospects. The TIR Convention provides global access to markets, connecting India to the wider TIR network that includes Iran, Azerbaijan, Russia and Central Asia.

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Tags: BBIN, Customs, IMT-MVA, India, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Transport, WTO

July 2018

Sri Lanka Launches Trade Information Portal

The Government of Sri Lanka's Department of Commerce launched the Sri Lanka Trade Information Portal, a one-stop gateway for information on trading to/from Sri Lanka. The portal provides information on laws and tariff, non-tariff measures, procedures and forms for license application, and international, regional, and bilateral trade agreements which Sri Lanka is a party to.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade, World Bank, WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement

June 2018

Ludhiana Customs Conducts AEO Camp

The Customs Commissionerate of Ludhiana held an Authorized Economic Operators’ (AEO) camp at the Customs House Sanhewal. Mr. AS Ranga, Customs Commissioner, reiterated the Government of India's commitment to implementation of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement. He discussed important features of the AEO scheme and details to remember in filing AEO applications. Representatives from different industries, and importers and exporters attended the event.

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Tags: Customs, India, WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Authorized Economic Operators

January 2018

WCO Encourages Customs Administrations to Promote Secure Business Environments

In a message to commemorate International Customs Day 2018, Mr. Kunio Mikuriya, Secretary General, World Customs Organization (WCO), examines what it means to truly promote a secure business environment through Customs to foster participation in cross-border trade. He urges WCO and its members to contribute to building business environments that are enabling, safe, and fair and sustainable.

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Tags: Customs, WCO, Small and Medium Enterprises, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

January 2018

Ludhiana, India, Organizes Authorized Economic Operator Workshop

Customs Cummisionerate, Ludhiana, India, organized an Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) Workshop in Sanhewal on 12 January 2018. Around 100 importers, exporters, and logistics officers from Punjab attended the workshop conducted by Delhi Customs.

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Tags: Customs, Ease of Doing Business, India, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO, Authorized Economic Operators

December 2017

Myanmar Launches Authorized Economic Operators Program

Myanmar Customs Department met with import and export companies, freight forwarders, and government departments to raise public awareness for its Authorized Economic Operator (AEO) program, initiated in line with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) Trade in Goods Agreement, the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement, and World Customs Organization international standards.

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Tags: ASEAN, Customs, Myanmar, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WCO, WTO, Authorized Economic Operators

November 2017

Report Calls for Speedy Implementation of Paperless Trade

Implementing paperless trade measures in Asia and the Pacific would reduce trade costs, raise competitiveness, and enable countries in the region to benefit from the digital economy, according to the Trade Facilitation and Paperless Trade Implementation - Global Report 2017.

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Tags: ADB, ASEAN, Customs, Trade Facilitation Agreement, UNCTAD, UNESCAP, WTO

March 2017

Commentary: Boosting Trade Facilitation in Services

A fast-rising information technology-enabled services (ITES) is opening global opportunities for the millions of Indian college graduates that enter the workforce every year. In this article, Mr. Pritam Banergee, Senior Director for Corporate Public Policy (South Asia), Deutsche Post DHL, discusses the need for India’s government and businesses to focus on trade policy reform that ensure markets remain open for the ITES sector.

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Tags: ICT, India, Employment, Jobs, Services, South Asia, Tariffs, Technology, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Trade Policy, WTO, Authorized Economic Operators

February 2017

India Files Proposal for Trade Deal on Services

India filed a draft Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) on Services at the World Trade Organization (WTO) on 23 February 2017. The proposal aims to increase transparency, reduce costs and facilitate cross-border flows of services. India is looking to push the proposal at the WTO Ministerial Meeting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in December.

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Tags: Customs, India, Services, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Transparency, Transport, WTO

February 2017

WTO’s Trade Facilitation Agreement Enters into Force

The World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement came into force after Rwanda, Oman, Chad, and Jordan submitted their instruments of acceptance to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The submissions bring the total number of ratifications over the 110 required for activation. Members’ trade costs are forecast to lower by 14.3%, with developing countries having the most to gain.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, LDC, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

February 2017

Speech: Advancing Global Trade and the Role of the WTO

The outlook for trade growth has weakened and we are seeing an uncertain period in the global economy. In this speech delivered before the Confederation of Indian Industry, World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo asserts that instead of raising barriers, the opening up of trade will ensure more opportunities for more people.

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Tags: Connectivity, Development, India, ICT, Employment, Services, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

December 2016

Commentary: Bangladesh Inching towards Paperless Trade

Bangladesh has adopted the mantra "Digital Bangladesh" in its push to reduce trade costs, by implementing paperless trade through an electronic system. The country has already launched an online trade portal; the Central Bank is successfully conducting electronic transactions; and the National Board of Revenue has also enhanced its paperless capacity. Asjadul Kibria, Bangladeshi economic journalist, provides the following commentary.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Customs, Single Window, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

August 2016

Commentary: Trade Portal and Single Window Reduce Cost of Doing Business

The National Trade Portal and National Single Window are important components of the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA). This commentary by Ms. Ferdous Ara Begum, Chief Executive Officer, Business Initiative Leading Development of Bangladesh, discusses how these could improve trade, gives an update on Bangladesh's initiatives toward ratifying the WTO TFA, and recommends a region-wide Single Window for South Asia.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, ASEAN, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation

May 2016

Sri Lanka Ratifies the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

Sri Lanka has ratified the World Trade Organization Trade Facilitation Agreement (WTO TFA), submitting its instrument of acceptance on 31 May 2016. Mr. R.D. Susiri Kumararatne, Ambassador to WTO, Sri Lanka, presented Sri Lanka's instrument to WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo. The TFA will maintain the country's competitiveness in global and naval trade.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

February 2016

Government of India Clears the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement

The Proposal for Notification of Commitments under the Trade Facilitation Agreement of the World Trade Organization (WTO), ratification and acceptance of the Instrument of Acceptance of Protocol of TFA to the WTO Secretariat and constitution of the National Committee on Trade Facilitation received approval from the Indian Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Tags: India, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

October 2015

World Trade Report 2015 Highlights Importance of Speedy, Extensive Implementation of the TFA

The latest World Trade Report launched on 26 October 2015 in Geneva, Switzerland is the first major study to comprehensively examine the benefits and challenges of implementing the World Trade Organization's Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) since its adoption in 2014. It highlights how extensive and speedy implementation of the TFA will lead to bigger gains, particularly for developing countries and least developed countries.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Trade

September 2015

Commentary: Implementation of WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement in Bangladesh

Read a commentary on the implementation of the Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) in Bangladesh. The TFA provides a series of measures to facilitate smooth and efficient movement of goods across borders inspired by best practices from around the world. It is expected to benefit all members of the World Trade Organization, including Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Trade Facilitation, Trade Facilitation Agreement

July 2015

World Trade Organization’s Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade

Heads of various international agencies agreed during the Fifth Global Review of Aid for Trade, held in Geneva, Switzerland on 30 June 2015 that reducing trade costs through initiatives such as World Trade Organization’s Trade Facilitation Agreement will help poor countries reap benefits of the global trading system. The Fifth Global Review examines actions taken to reduce trade costs so that developing countries and least-developed countries can participate more effectively in global trade.

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Tags: Aid for Trade, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

May 2015

WTO Launches Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility Website

The Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility (TFAF) – launched on 22 July 2014 and operational by 27 November 2014 – assists developing countries and least developed country members reap the full benefits of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Trade Facilitation Agreement. Recently, the WTO launched a dedicated website for the TFAF for members, donors, and others seeking information on the new TFAF.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation Agreement, Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility, WTO

January 2015

WTO Director General Highlights TFA Benefits at CII

As the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) reached its 120th year, the Partnership Summit – CII’s annual flagship event – gathered over 1,000 delegates to deliberate on global economic and trade scenarios, including enhancing developing countries’ ability to integrate into the world economy. WTO Director General Roberto Azevêdo highlighted India’s contribution to the multilateral trading system and noted the benefits of ratifying the trade facilitation agreement to Indian industries.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, India

November 2014

India, USA Agreement puts TFA Back on Track

The agreement announced by the United States of America and India makes the World Trade Organization impasse likely to end and opens the way for implementation of the trade facilitation agreement. This new US-India agreement clarifies and makes open-ended the “peace clause” that was agreed during the Bali Ministerial in December 2013. The new deal clarifies ambiguities regarding India’s food stockpiles.

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Tags: India, United States, Trade Facilitation Agreement

November 2014

Plan of Action Adopted for LLDCs at Second UN Conference

The Second United Nations Conference on Landlocked Countries on 3-5 November 2014 in Vienna adopted a Programme of Action for Landlocked Developing Countries, which includes trade and trade facilitation as one of its six priorities. It recognizes the importance of implementing the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement, particularly provisions on technical assistance and capacity-building.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation Agreement, LLDC

October 2014

Trade Facilitation Agreement Benefits Within Reach?

India remains concerned on finding a permanent solution on food stockholding, while preserving the integrity of the Bali package concluded at WTO’s 9th ministerial meeting. India is calling for progress on a parallel pact that allows it to subsidize and stockpile food grains than is currently allowed by WTO rules.

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Tags: WTO, India, Trade Facilitation Agreement

September 2014

Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum 2014 focuses on Trade Facilitation for Inclusive Development

The Asian Development Bank, United Nations Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific, in collaboration with the Ministry of Commerce of Thailand, jointly organized the 6th Asia-Pacific Trade Facilitation Forum (APTFF)—an annual regional platform—on September 24-25, 2014. Over 200 delegates joined the knowledge and experience-sharing forum.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Single Window, Trade Facilitation Agreement

July 2014

WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility Support LDCs and Developing Countries

A Trade Facilitation Agreement Facility was launched by the WTO on 22 July 2014, further ensuring that least developed countries and developing countries will receive necessary assistance in implementing the trade facilitation agreement.

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Tags: WTO, Trade Facilitation, Poverty Reduction, ADB, SASEC, Trade Facilitation Agreement, LDC, WCO, UNESCAP

July 2014

Reducing Practical Barriers to Trade

The World Economic Forum's Global Enabling Trade Report: 2014 offers a tool to monitor progress on implementing measures for the Trade Facilitation Agreement. It provides insights on how countries in South Asia can significantly gain from the $1 trillion boost the Trade Facilitation Agreement is expected to bring to the global economy.

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Tags: Trade Facilitation, Trade Policy, Poverty Reduction, Bangladesh, India, Nepal, South Asia, Trade Facilitation Agreement, Trade, WTO