India, US to strengthen electronic exchange of customs data for postal shipments
This will facilitate exchange of electronic data of international postal items before their physical arrival at the destination
As India and the United States concluded the third round of 2+2 dialogue on Tuesday, both sides announced the signing of a series of agreements to strengthen bilateral cooperation in the field of communications.
The Department of Posts, Government of India entered into an agreement with the United States Postal Service (USPS) for the electronic exchange of customs data related to postal shipments exchanged between the two countries.
According to the joint statement released post the discussion, both sides also welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observation and Earth Sciences.
Agreement for Electronic Exchange of Customs Data
India and the US signed a pact for Electronic Exchange of Customs Data related to postal shipments exchanged between the two countries.
The agreement was signed by the Department of Posts Deputy Director General (international relations and global business) Prannoy Sharma and United States Postal Service's Global Business Managing Director Robert H Raines Jr.
According to the official statement, the agreement will facilitate the transmission and receiving of electronic data of international postal items before their physical arrival at the destination.
“The agreement will make it possible to transmit and receive electronic data of international postal items prior to their physical arrival at the destination and would enable customs clearance of postal items in advance in line with the evolving global postal framework. This will also improve the performance of postal services in terms of reliability, visibility, and security,” the Ministry of Communications said in a statement.
The US is the top export destination for India, with around 17 percent share, which is also reflected in the exchange of goods through postal channels.
“In 2019, around 20% of outbound EMS and 30% of Letters & Small Packets transmitted by India Post were destined to USA whereas 60% of the Parcels received by India Post were originated from USA,” the statement read.
The primary objective that will be served by this agreement is to facilitate ‘ease of exports’ for small and large exporters through postal channels from different parts of the country and will contribute towards making India an Export Hub for the world, it said.
MoU for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observation and Earth Sciences
During the 2+2 talks, the Ministers welcomed the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Technical Cooperation in Earth Observation and Earth Sciences between the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the Indian Ministry of Earth Sciences.
It will develop a better understanding of regional and global weather origins in the Indian Ocean and help in advancing common research goals in meteorology, oceanography, and management of living marine resources, the joint statement said.
Strengthening commitments in communication
As per the joint statement, the Ministers welcomed the virtual convening of the U.S.-India Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Working Group on October 1, 2020. They reaffirmed their commitment towards an open, reliable, and secure internet as well as the multi-stakeholder model of internet governance.
Both sides also welcomed the recent convening of the annual U.S.-India Cyber Dialogue on September 15, 2020, and the first U.S.-India Defense Cyber Dialogue on September 17, 2020.