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While India propels itself to a USD 5 trillion economy, the target is to make trade account for 30-40 percent of the economy by 2028: Commerce Secretary
Aug 11, 2021

“AatmaNirbharta is about standing on our strengths, engaging with the rest of the world as equal partners through buying and selling of high standard and high-quality products,” reflected Shri B V R Subrahmanyam, Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, addressing the Annual Meeting 2021 of Confederation of Indian Industry (CII). He promised the industry a slew of upcoming measures recognizing the importance of building India as a manufacturing and export hub. “For the past 5-7 years, the Government has been working tirelessly to promote manufacturing, to enable industry to work in a hassle-free manner by overseeing compliance and reducing regulatory burden.”

The Ministry of Commerce & Industry (MoCI) has laid down a roadmap for a targeted USD 1 tr in exports of goods by 2028 and a probable services exports of USD 700 billion within the same time. Ministry of Commerce & Industry has undertaken a major drive to identify and push 31 commodities through 200 countries with a targeted USD 400 million exports by 2021. According to the Secretary, Indian exports have been steady at USD 200 million over the last 10 years. The Government in the last 7 years has helped strengthen the industrial base and is now coming out with a report that will be pushed through all Embassies and the Ministry of External Affairs etc. for identifying and bolstering trade value with partners.

The MOCI has definitive plans that aligns to Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘’Make in India for the World” and “Local goes global” vision to manufacture and launch high-quality Indian products in the international markets. The MOCI plans to cultivate the 700 districts in India to become export hubs. Districts will be evaluated based on a graded rating scheme to identify the first 100 districts that will be financially supported to develop export infrastructure.

The Secretary further highlighted that the Government’s focus was to phase out non-WTO compliant schemes in favour of newer international schemes and policies that can put India at par with other international markets. In line with this the RoDTEP (Remission of Duties and Taxes on Export Products) Scheme was notified on 1 January 2021, to replace the existing MEIS (Merchandise Exports from India Scheme). The scheme will ensure that the exporters receive the refunds on the embedded taxes and duties previously non-recoverable. The scheme was brought about with the intention to boost exports which were relatively poor in volume previously. The rates will be finalized soon and will be released as early as this week. The Foreign Trade Policy will cover the PLI Scheme and is to be notified by end of August and will be launched by mid-September so that export and manufacturing can be seamless.

The Ministry is concerned that while the value of exports has remained constant over the last 10 years, the withdrawal of export incentives has trebled. The Secretary observed that 70 % of India's exports comprise only a 30 % share of the world’s traded commodities, indicating the need to shift the focus from low value products and export of raw materials to high value products. It is planning to set up adequate real time import monitoring, not with the purpose of controlling imports, but to identify high-import products as prospective for manufacturing in-house. These will be notified through industry association like CII.

Shri Subrahmanyam also elucidated on the importance of improving the last-mile connectivity in the nation for greater trade facilitation. He informed the participants that the Ministry of Commerce & Industry is working on developing the National Master Plan for Logistics that enables ease of transfer of information, operability and facilitates simplification of process. He also stated that efforts are being made to make it easy to move from one mode of transport to another.

The Secretary also mentioned that the authorities were working on promoting ‘Brand India’ that would help establish India as a global manufacturing hub and there would also be focus on improving the policies for SEZs by undertaking measures such as denotifying the spaces which are currently empty.

Speaking about the exports for services, Shri Subrahmanyam mentioned that there is a need to developing a streamlined policy for the same which would require bringing all the Ministries and authorities on a common platform. He stated that work is underway for services sector and the target is to exports to USD 700 billion in 2027-28.

Shri Subrahmanyam emphasized on the need for entering into more Free Trade Agreements in a balanced manner for greater regional integration and stated that there are 20 FTAs under negotiation including UAE, UK, Canada, and Australia. 6 FTAs are also being fast tracked. He strongly highlighted that India needs to engage with the rest of the world for trade growth.

Mr Sanjiv Bajaj, President Designate, CII, lauded the government for adopting a well-planned economic strategy to promote self-reliance while ensuring further integration into the Global Value Chains. He stated that these policies which promote the growth of the manufacturing sector are crucial for job creation and enhancing competitiveness. Mr Bajaj also emphasized on the need for developing a Foreign Trade Policy that is in line with the larger Industrial Policy.

Mr Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII commended the government of India for adopting a collective and comprehensive approach to achieve the target of 400-billion-dollar exports for this year. He stated that the motto of local goes global will go a long way in integrating the smallest players in the international production network. Mr Banerjee reiterated CII’s commitment to strengthening the industry government partnership for meeting the export agenda.

11 August 2021

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