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INDIA: Expedited Customs Clearance Prioritised in Line with Overall WTO Commitments

Under the terms of the recently announced National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP), perishable goods are to be cleared by the Indian customs authorities within 12 hours of their initial import, while any such goods intended for export will be cleared within eight hours of their arrival at the appropriate border exit point. In addition, the border gate storage infrastructure for all such goods is also to be upgraded.

All of the above changes are scheduled for implementation within the next six months, while a number of other longer term initiatives will be introduced over the next three years. Overall, all of these developments are geared to meeting the requirements of the World Trade Organisation’s Trade Facilitation Agreement, a pan-national treaty aimed at streamlining international customs protocols. 

In line with this, all relevant trade-related regulatory information will now be published on an official single-window web portal. In terms of longer term measures, it is envisaged that imported air cargo will ultimately be cleared within two days, while sea cargo will be cleared in two days.  Similarly, goods to be exported by sea will be cleared within two days, while air freight items will be authorised within 24 hours.

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