Review of FTAs key concern for govt

Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a meeting with export promotion bodies and took note of the adverse impact of FTAs The Dollar Business Bureau
Review of FTAs key concern for govt Representatives of 11 export promotion councils (EPCs) and export development authorities, APEDA and MPEDA, discussed the current trend and issues faced by exporters
  The government has said that it is in the process of reviewing the free trade agreement (FTA) with ASEAN and other such pacts including RCEP (Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership) to improve India’s exports. Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman held a meeting with the chairpersons of export promotion councils on Tuesday and took note of the adverse impact of FTAs on the country’s foreign trade. Representatives of 11 export promotion councils (EPCs) and export development authorities, APEDA and MPEDA, took part in the meeting and discussed the current trend and issues faced by exporters. The key areas in which the support of the government was sought were inclusion of merchant exporters under IES, review of existing FTAs, especially ASEAN, so that India gets a level playing field on certain key commodities and greater incentives to the services sector. Each of the participating organizations conveyed their specific issues relating to the sector and support required from the government for improving manufacturing related to exports. “It was clarified that the ASEAN FTA is under review and she (Sitharaman) sought feedback for the same from all the industry members, as also for other trade agreements like RCEP, which is on the anvil and for which Department of Commerce is frequently meeting the industry members from all sectors,” the Commerce Ministry said in a statement after the meeting. Engineering export promotion council EEPC India suggested that the promotional schemes for the external trade must be re-aligned in the wake of worsening conditions in the global market. “Plans like MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme) should be set aside and a new scheme be announced where the benefits accrue for all tariff lines and for all countries. Alternatively, the government should increase the MEIS benefit extending them to Category C countries,” EEPC India Chairman T S Bhasin said in his presentation. Bhasin also argued against the move to impose Minimum Import Price on steel, saying, “one of the reasons for the sharp decline in December 2015 is the uncertainty created due to reports on MIP”. India’s engineering exports which accounted for over 21% of India’s total exports in December 2015 registered a fall of 29% to $4765.51 million from $6710.57 million during December 2014. The minister expressed concern over various non-tariff barriers introduced by other markets including the recent policy notifications by the US for the pharma sector. She, however, assured that the Ministry of Commerce is willing to take up with Ministry of External Affairs, Ministry of Finance etc. issues concerning exports. The officers in the department of commerce have been asked to take up with concerned ministries on sectoral issues bilaterally or multi-laterally.   

February 3, 2016 | 03:40pm IST

The Dollar Business Bureau - Feb 03, 2016 10:04 IST
 
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