Foreign trade policy review to be released on Dec 5

New Delhi, Nov 30: The government has said it will announce the Foreign Trade Policy’s (FTP) mid-term review on December 5 to boost the country’s expo-rts of goods and services, as well as increase employment generation and value-addition in the country.
The focus of the review is likely to be on Small and Medium Enterprises (SME) and labour-intensive segments, according to official sources.
The move comes at a time when India’s goods exports shrunk by (-) 1.12% in October this year to $23 billion, the lowest since (-) 6.86% in July 2016, which was the last time the shipments contracted. The fall in shipments in October, the first after 14 consecutive months of positive growth, was understood to be due to the impact of the Goods and Services Tax (GST) on the export segment.
G.K. Gupta, president, Federation of Indian Export Organisations, had said in a statement that “the fall was expected as exporters, particularly SMEs, were facing liquidity problem to pay GST for four months in a row without getting any refund.” He added that exports should be kept out of the purview of GST as paying the tax first and getting refund later is cumbersome, in turn affecting exports.
The FTP for the period 2015-2020 had set a target of India’s exports of goods and services touching $900 billion by 2019-20 and to raising India’s share in world exports from 2% to 3.5%. Though the FTP mid-term review was to be released prior to July 1, in line with the introduction of GST, it was postponed as the government wanted to take into account the exporters’ feedback regarding GST.
The Directorate General of Foreign Trade, responsible for FTP implementation, said in an office order on November 29 that the DGFT Headquarters in New Delhi “will remain functional on December 2 and 3, 2017 (Saturday and Sunday) for preparatory work relating to release of FTP mid-term review. All the officers/officials of DGFT Headquarters are directed to attend office on the above mentioned days. No leave of any kind shall be allowed till the release of FTP on December 5, 2017.”
Earlier this month, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said the FTP mid-term review will be released soon, adding that “We would like to increase our exports but also would not discourage imports. We will like to have international trade as a thrust for developing India’s GDP and economy.”
In a recent interview to The Hindu, Mr. Prabhu said in the exports sector, “new products and new markets” are being considered for incentives, adding that “we are trying to work on a holistic strategy” to make India a global manufacturing and export hub.
On Thursday, addressing a conference on SMEs, Prabhu said, “One great strategy we have is to bring economic development, take our manufacturing to at least 20% of the GDP.
In the next few years time we will have $5 trillion of GDP, so $1 trillion of that will come from manufacturing and the substantial part of that, we are aiming to get from SMEs.”
Towards that aim, the government is trying help SMEs be a part of the global supply chains, by identifying and creating opportunities. (Agencies)