Mumbai– Union Finance Minister Arun Jaitley on Monday said trading across borders has become an “economic imperative of our times” and it is in every nation’s interest to bring down the trade barriers for the global economy.

“No nation can produce all products. It cannot specialise in all forms of services and therefore trading across barriers of nations is an economic imperative of our times and this is going to increase with times to come,” Jaitley said at an event here.

Addressing the 80th Session of the Policy Commission of the World Customs Organisation (WCO) through video conference, he said nations have realised that increase in trade gives impetus to the global economy as he advocated free trade.

“It is in the larger interest of every country to make sure that trade barriers are brought down to the extent possible,” he said at a time when protectionism is on the rise fuelled by the trade war initiated by the US against China and with the latter’s retaliation.

Jaitley said trade barriers have a significant impact on transactional costs for all transactions and any delay either due to lack of infrastructure or on account of terms and procedures adds to the cost thereby taking away the competitiveness of that trade.

“Domestic economy itself starts suffering and therefore it is in the larger interest of each economy globally to make sure that trading across customs, trade barriers of nations is facilitated to the largest extent possible,” he said.

He said countries have invested a lot in improving upon infrastructure including ports, airports and roads, and that India has been in the forefront of increasing its own capacities.

“This is reflected from the fact that in the last four years our ranking in World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business has moved from 142 to 77, a record movement of 65 position. On facilitating global trade, India’s rank has improved from 140 to 80 among 190 countries.

“India remains committed as far as improvements in trade facilitations and facilitating trading across barriers is concerned,” he said.

He expressed hope that the three-day 80th Session of the Policy Commission will be of great utility for facilitating global trade.

Hosted by the Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, the session on various topics including trade facilitation is being attended by delegates from 33 countries. (IANS)