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GENEVA, August 01, 5:27 /ITAR-TASS/. India has finally blocked a Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA) which could have been the first accord over almost 20 years of the existence of the World Trade Organization (WTO). This has brought the WTO nearer to a serious crisis and put in jeopardy the efforts towards taking the Doha Round of negotiations on liberalisation of world trade out of deadlock.
Owing to the attitude taken up by New Delhi, WTO member-countries on Thursday failed to fix a protocol which would have made it possible to bring into effect one of major accords of the WTO's 9th ministerial conference held on Bali in December last year.
The TFA, which was aimed at substantially reducing costs of customs clearing procedures, could have brought, in expert estimates, up to $1 trillion to international trade and would have created 21 million jobs.
The TFA was aimed, in particular, at streamlining and standardising customs clearing procedures. WTO experts have estimated that resultant of cost reductions during customs procedures alone, average expenses of the exporter at the WTO (these include both administrative outlays and customs duties) could have been reduced from ten percent to five.
The TFA was the most important accord in the so-called Bali Package which furnished a basis for completing the Doha Round of negotiations within the WTO framework to liberalise world trade. The talks were aimed at lowering tariffs on trade in farm products and manufactured goods.