Piyush Goyal meets EPC, FIEO members; Talks exports & foreign trade policy

New Delhi: Union Minister for Commerce & Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, met with all Export Promotion Councils (EPCs), Federation of Indian Export Organisation (FIEO) and Commodity Boards under the Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry. In a marathon five-hour meeting held on 19 December in New Delhi, Piyush Goyal reviewed and sought inputs from EPCs for the Foreign Trade Policy and got their views on steps that may be taken to boost India’s exports. Pre-budget inputs from EPCs was also taken so that they may be sent to the Finance Ministry.

Thirty-seven EPCs, FIEO and three Commodity Boards of the Department of Commerce attended the meeting and took this opportunity to discuss with the Commerce & Industry Minister every issue that the Councils face while exporting merchandise and services, and also to give their feedback on the various initiatives that are being taken by the Ministry to ease lending and credit availability to exporters. The EPCs also gave their views on India’s FTAs/PTAs with other countries, especially ASEAN.

The problem of exporters identified as “risky exporters” by CBIC was taken up and Piyush Goyal directed that a nodal officer be appointed in the office of Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), and urged the Councils to send a list of those identified as risky exporters to the nodal officer in DGFT so that this issue may be taken up with the Finance Ministry. Councils were directed to send this list by 31 December 2019 to Additional DGFT, Vijay Kumar.

Goyal further suggested that rationalization of EPCs must be taken up in order to avoid duplication of work and suggested that the big exporters may continue to be part of FIEO and smaller Councils may merge with bigger EPCs that deal with products of similar nature.

The Commerce & Industry Minister urged EPCs to study the non-tariff barriers (NTB) being faced by them while exporting to other countries so that a study may be done to look at these NTBs and take up this issue bilaterally with countries, especially with whom India has FTAs/PTAs.

Goyal urged exporters to make use of the NIRVIK (Niryat Rin Vikas Yojana) Scheme that will soon be approved by Cabinet so that exporters are able to access easy lending and enhanced loan availability that will cover 90% of the principle interest and will also include both pre and post shipment credit.

Director General and CEO of FIEO, Dr Ajay Sahai, suggested that the New Foreign Trade Policy should study profiles of exports as well as global import trends as India largely exports textiles, leather, handicraft, carpets, marine and agro products. While these are important for employment their share in global exports is in decline, Sahai observed.

The top 5 products in global exports, accounting for over 50%, are electrical & electronic products, petroleum goods, machinery, automobile and plastic goods. However, their share in India’s exports is less than 33%. India’s global share in these 5 products, put together, is about 1%. Therefore, the New FTP should facilitate the export of these products, suggested Sahai.

The issue of India’s low share in high technology exports was also discussed by FIEO. High technology accounts for 6.3% of exports, whereas the same is 29% for China, 32% for South Korea, 34% for Vietnam, 39% for Singapore.

Specific issues and problems being faced by certain EPCs like Telecom, Forest Produce and Shellac Export Promotion Council, Sports Goods EPC and CAPEXIL will be taken up with other line Ministries, Goyal assured, so that these issues and problems may be sorted out as soon as possible.

At the end of the meeting, it was decided by the Minister, in concurrence with all EPCs and Boards, that another meeting will be held after the Budget in February 2020 to review the tasks achieved and those still pending, that were discussed in the meeting.

Commerce Secretary and other senior officers of both Department of Commerce and Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade were present at the meeting.

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The ID Staff

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