New Delhi, Apr 12: 'Focus product to a Focus Market', should be the orientation of India's trade policy, said Commerce and Industry Minister Kamal Nath, and added that Indian exporters should look for new markets, markets that hitherto have not been unexplored like those in East Europe and the CIS countries.
He was speaking in the session- "Interactive Session on Foreign Trade Policy and Procedures 2008-09" organized the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) here today. Nath said the annual supplement to the foreign trade policy has laid the ground for targetting five percent of world trade share by 2020.
Nath complimented Indian industry for the resilient effort on the face of adverse domestic and international economic condition. He noted that the rupee appreciation over the last one year and the slowdown of the US economy have dented Indian exports in the recent times. Nevertheless, the minister declared that it might be a sense of achievement for the Indian industry but for him it is sense of fulfilment as exports have grown from 64 billion to 155 billion dollars of exports expected by the end of the fiscal 2008-09.
The minister said that since four years back when this integrated foreign trade policy (2004-09) was announced, Indian exports have evolved a lot, in terms of the composition of the export basket, new buyers from the emerging economies and overall new found confidence of the Indian industry.
He highlighted the fact partnership between the government and the business community has made this possible. He said that the perception of the world about India has undergone a sea change. Mr Nath said that the annual supplement this year is a package that is a relief to some, comfort to others, while impetus to the rest.
Nath said that the sports and the toys sector have been given special push in the annual supplement keeping in mind Chinese competitiveness in this sector, and India is yet to be a significant player. Nath ended with the optimistic and apt remark that "We haven't missed the bus, its time to board the bus".
On remanufactured goods, the minister agreed that there is a need to have a single port of entry for imports and emission standards should be set. The minister also asked CII to prepare a position paper on remanufactured goods imports.
Commerce Secretary G.K.Pillai commended Indian industry for consistently performing well in the exports and being able to find out solutions to problems in 'local way'. The annual supplement this year, he said has a vision for a long-term and sustainable growth of India's exports. He noted that working with other ministries is necessary to make them aware of the benefits of exports and have an 'outward looking' approach.
He added that the state governments should be persuaded and educated about the importance of exports in the path of development. Exports earnings would boost states' revenues and hence states should avoid disincentivising exports with high taxes and duties. He suggested CII to work together with the government to this end.
Pillai assured that government is working to make export procedures simple and a 'single-window' clearance of export documents. He announced that in order to fully utilise e-trade facilities, EDI interconnectivity of trade related agencies would be operational by September 2008. This would enable exporters to operate from anywhere in the country with a single account. He also announced that the Joint Task Force (JTF) would be functional in next 30 days, and that the JTF would represent all stakeholders like industry, government both at the central and state level.
He urged the exporting community to utilise the accreditation certification under the ACP certification programme, which would reduce delays as the shipments arriving at the port have not to go through verification process at the port.
Sunil Bharti Mittal, President CII said that CII is committed to working with the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and said the foreign trade policy takes into account the concerns of exporters including inflation, rupee appreciation and global recession.
Sanjay Budhia, Chairman CII Trade Committee said that the focus on reduction of transaction costs was of great interest to industry and said exporters looked forward to a long term policy measure for remaining competitive.