Piyush Chairs First Board of Trade Meet, Promises action within 45 Days

The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, chaired a joint Meeting of Board of Trade and Council of Trade Development & Promotion on 6 June 2019 and held a day long interaction with the industry and Agriculture Ministers of the States, industrialists, Export Promotion Councils, and representatives of the economic and infrastructure Ministries of the Central Government for boosting exports and domestic manufacturing and reducing trade deficit.

Briefing media at the end of the meeting, Piyush Goyals aid that Ministries/departments can no longer work in isolation for effective outcome of government policy. The Commerce and Industry Minister further said that action on many of the decisions arrived at today’s meeting will be taken in next 45 days. He also announced that the next follow up meeting would be held in 45 days. He said, easier availability of credit at cheaper rates to exporters will be resolved expeditiously and customs clearances will be made quicker by installing X Ray scanners at all major Ports. Robust mechanism for Track & Trace in Pharma sector will be implemented in three months, a new scheme to rebate state and central taxes and levies will be rolled out in 3 months and will be implemented in a phased manner for all sectors, the Minister added.

During the day-long deliberations, exporters spoke about trade disputes between US and China, ongoing negotiations under Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, difficulties in availability of export credit. Specific action points for the implementation of new Agricultural Export Policy, reducing logistics costs, improving ease of doing business in all States, increasing domestic manufacturing and reducing imports were identified. States were urged to finalise their export strategies at the earliest keeping in view their state specific requirements and advantages. Commerce and Industry Minister exhorted the State Governments to adopt GeM, a one stop online procurement portal for better transparency and efficiency. State Government agreed to take steps in strengthening the entrepreneurship and start up ecosystem.

A number of decisions were taken during the meeting which include:

·         Investigations on imports under the anti-dumping mechanism will be expedited, particularly products of the MSMEs with the help of industry associations

·         Steps to boost exports of organic produce, and ways to rationalize the mandi fees across states would be examined

·         The top 50 tariff lines, which constitute 60% of India’s import to be examined in detail for possible ways to reduce import dependence

·         ECGC would fast track the disposal of claims and put in public domain the pending claims for the benefit of the industry

·         Meetings with State Export Commissioners to be held on pre-announced fixed dates to discuss issues related to export infrastructure and state specific export strategies

·         Government would work with the States to develop product specific clusters for 50 sectors with high manufacturing potential.

·         To leverage the railways real estate and use less utilized railway stations, the Ministry of Commerce will explore the possibility of setting up warehouses

·         The concept of deemed approval for establishments, which currently require annual renewal of licenses will be explored in consultation with States.

·         DPIIT/DOC will evaluate State Governments on a ranking framework on support provided to industry for manufacturing, exports and logistics support.

·         DPIIT will encourage States to leverage public procurement by implementing Make in India in Public Procurement Order.

·         DPIIT will work with Industry (including apex industry association like CII, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and PHDCCI) for organizing a National investor promotion event in next 6 to 9 months.

·         Development of clusters for specific sectors especially for job creating industries will be pursued with States and Industry.

·         APEDA will create a portal which will host the FPOs all over the country and link them to exporters.

Earlier in his opening remarks the Commerce & Industry Minister recalled the vision of Dr Shyama Prasad Mukherjee, first Minister of Industry of independent India, who laid solid foundation of India’s industrialisation through the Industrial Policy Resolution of 1948. He highlighted that this time, meeting with Industry has been combined with the meeting with States in order to have holistic discussion in the true spirit of cooperative and competitive federalism. He emphasised that Industry should move away from the mindset of government support and subsidy because there are larger issues which need to be addressed at a structural level. He urged the industry to focus on the root cause of the problem and increase our competitiveness in terms of quality and efficiency. He assured the industry that wherever there are genuine difficulties like increased cost of credit, easy availability of liquidity etc, will be resolved expeditiously. He highlighted the achievements of the government in terms of exports crossing half trillion mark for the first time with goods exports at all time high of USD 331 billion, “Ease of doing business” rank improving to 77 and logistics rank improving to 44th. Procurement of more than Rs 25,000 crore have been undertaken by Governments resulting in huge savings.

Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State (Independent Charge) Housing and Urban Affairs and Civil Aviation and Minister of State, Commerce & Industry and Som Parkash, Minister of State for Commerce & industry also participated in the deliberations. Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Ayog, Ramesh Abhishek, Secretary, Department for Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade and Anup Wadhawan, Commerce Secretary were also present during the conference.