Government to set up Trade Facilitation Council to promote exports

The main objective of the council will be facilitating trade from states, in a bid to boost the country's exports.
Source: PTI
Concerned over declining exports, the government will soon set up a Trade Facilitation Council comprising members of Centre and states to promote India's overseas shipments. The council will be chaired by Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and secretaries of key ministries and state ministers will be the members. The main objective of the council will be facilitating trade from states in a bid to boost the country's exports. "The real work happens in states. We are setting up this council. We will also ask and encourage them to formulate their own State Trade Policy," an official said. To discuss the issue, Commerce Secretary Rita Teaotia will hold meetings with officials from the states tomorrow. The other issues which will come up in the meeting include problems related with infrastructure and governance; local tax issues and its refund; and states' regulatory environment. "We will also look at several other issues. What is that holding states back (on trade front)? There are infrastructure and governance issues in states. Every state needs to look at that. We are also looking at local taxation issues particularly where refund of taxes are involved," the official said. The commerce ministry is also working on other measures including dis-segregation of exports data state-wise. "We will give access to DGCI&S window for their (states) own data to see where they are going," the official added. The Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics (DGCI&S), under the Ministry of Commerce, is an official organisation for collection, compilation and dissemination of India's trade statistics and commercial information. The Commerce Ministry will encourage every state for a State Trade Policy in order to streamline procedures and increase exports. "The idea of tomorrow's meeting is to see where the shoe is pinching. The ministry will ask what they need to do," the official added. Seeking to involve states for promoting exports, the Commerce Ministry had asked them to appoint commissioners and prepare export strategy. As many as 21 states have appointed export commissioners while 14 states including Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat have framed strategies for outward shipments. The move is aimed at achieving the $900 billion exports target by 2019-20. The ministry is also working with the states to prepare a list of infrastructure projects which would ensure full potential of growth in exports. Contracting for the sixth month in a row, India's exports dipped by 20.19% in May to $22.34 billion. During the meeting with state officials tomorrow, the Commerce Ministry is also expected to discuss issues related to Nokia with officials from Tamil Nadu. Further the official said that the ministry is working on steps to enhance spices exports from India. "We have huge basket of spices. We are coordinating with 11 states to boost the exports," the official added. The 11 states include Andhra Pradesh (for chili and turmeric), Tamil Nadu (for chili and turmeric), Karnataka (for pepper, ginger and turmeric), Gujarat (for garlic and jeera), Rajasthan (for coriander and jeera), Uttar Pradesh (for mint and garlic), Assam (for ginger and jeera) and Jammu and Kashmir for saffron. A discussion is also underway in the ministry to boost defence exports from the country. "You have to look at defence sensitivities. Both the commerce and defence ministries are looking at it," the official said. A study group is also working on ways to increase trade with Iran.

July 14, 2015 | 4:51 pm IST.