Commerce Ministry Seeks Stakeholder Views For Next Foreign Trade Policy
A gantry crane loads shipping containers onto a truck at the Kirshnapatnam Co. port in Kirshnapatnam, Andhra Pradesh, India (Photographer: Prashanth Vishwanathan/Bloomberg)  

Commerce Ministry Seeks Stakeholder Views For Next Foreign Trade Policy

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The commerce ministry has sought views of stakeholders for the formulation of the next foreign trade policy which provides guidelines for enhancing exports to push economic growth and create jobs.

“It has been decided to revise the current foreign trade policy (2015-20). Therefore, suggestions/inputs are hereby invited from all the stakeholders for framing the proposed new FTP,” the directorate general of foreign trade has said in a notice.

The current policy will end in March 2020. The new five-year foreign trade policy (2020-25) is expected to be released in September this year. In such a policy, the government announces incentives for both goods and services exporters. At present, tax benefits are provided under merchandise export from India scheme and services export from India scheme.

As these export promotion schemes are challenged by the U.S. in the dispute resolution mechanism of the World Trade Organisation, the government may consider recasting the incentives to make them in compliance with global trade rules. Exporters are demanding incentives based on research and development, and product-specific clusters under the new policy.

Former President of Federation of Indian Export Organisations Ganesh Kumar Gupta said that the a new scheme should include refund of indirect taxes like on oil and power, and state levies such as mandi tax. Assistant Professor and expert on agriculture economics, Chirala Shankar Rao, said that the policy should look at ways to promote agri exports as it holds huge opportunities.

Ludhiana-based exporter SC Ralhan demanded income tax exemption for five years for exporters. “The current export scenario is not good. In this situation, the government should think extending income tax exemption for at least five years. There is also a need to ensure availability of raw material at international prices for exporters,” Ralhan said. Since 2011-12, India's exports have been hovering at around $300 billion. During 2018-19, the overseas shipments grew by 9 percent to $331 billion.

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