CBIC Circular Promotes Women in Trade Sector

The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs (CBIC) has issued two circulars on International Women’s Day to promote women participation in international trade and to provide gender-specific infrastructure facilities at the logistics hubs.

The circulars aim to foster a gender-inclusive trade environment that empowers women to contribute meaningfully to the global economy. They also reflect CBIC’s dedication to create a safe and secure working environment for women in the logistics sector.

The first circular (No. 02/2024) directs the field formations to ensure:

  • Representation of women in the Permanent Trade Facilitation Committee (PTFC) and Customs Clearance Facilitation Committee (CCFC) meetings
  • Encouragement of trade bodies and custodians to establish dedicated help desks and processing mechanisms for women traders and women logistics service providers
  • Support in upskilling women logistics service providers, freight forwarders and custom brokers by offering relevant trainings for women

The second circular (No. 03/2024) directs the field formations to ensure:

  • Provision of gender-specific infrastructure facilities at the Inland Container Depot (ICD), container freight station (CFS) and Air Freight Stations (AFS), such as sufficient lighting, panic buttons, creches, etc.
  • Regular upgradation of facilities from a gender perspective
  • Regular gender sensitisation training sessions for all concerned staff and stakeholders

The circulars are expected to boost the participation and empowerment of women in international trade and logistics, which is crucial for achieving inclusive and sustainable development.

According to a joint report by the World Bank Group and the World Trade Organization, trade can expand women’s role in the economy, decrease inequality, and improve women’s access to skills and education. The report shows that:

  • In developing countries, women make up 33 percent of the workforce of exporting firms compared with just 24 percent of non-exporting firms
  • When women are employed in sectors with high levels of exports, they are more likely to be formally employed in a job with better benefits, training and security
  • Women’s involvement in trade negotiations is key to ensure women fully gain from trade and that their voices and entrepreneurial interests are taken into account

The report also highlights the challenges that women face in accessing trade opportunities, such as legal barriers, social norms, access to finance, skills, information and networks.

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