Foreign Trade Policy missing from Commerce Ministry’s achievements in 2014

Government counts resolution of WTO concerns over India’s food security programmes and reforms on FDI in defence as major breakthroughs

The Dollar Business Bureau India Trade TDB2 In its year-end review, India’s Ministry of Commerce (MoC) has listed out several points, including the triumph in the World Trade Organisation (WTO), but the export-import community would be disappointed that the list neither contains the New Foreign Trade Policy (now wrongly called the 2014-2019 FTP) nor has any timeline for its announcement. All that the MoC says is that intensive discussions are underway with the Department of Revenue to finalise the new FTP 2014-19. In its efforts to involve states in India’s foreign trade, the MoC has sent a matrix to all State Governments, of which six States have finalised their export strategy and three have already appointed Export Commissioners. Among the MoC’s achievements in 2014 are measures taken by the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) in digitisation, simplification, trade facilitation and reduction in transaction costs through online access on trade statistics and facilitation. The MoC said that steps to improve the Ease of Doing Business have been taken to bring India’s economy on a high growth path again. It also said that significant progress has been made to attract FDI in key sectors such as defence, railways and infrastructure development. “A major breakthrough has been pruning the list of Defence industries which require industrial licensing,” said the MoC. The MoC also said that the “Make in India” initiative will rest on four pillars: new processes, new infrastructure, new sectors, and new mindset. “Industry is accustomed to see Government as a regulator. ‘Make in India’ intends to change this by bringing a paradigm shift in how Government interacts with industry. The Government will partner industry in economic development of the country. The approach will be that of a facilitator and not regulator,” the MoC said. It also said that India and USA resolved their differences on Public Stock Holding for Food Security purposes this year, which paved the way for the adoption of the WTO Trade Facilitation Agreement (TFA). The government is expected to take initiatives in land reforms in next 6-12 months, and a simplified online system for issuance of Importer Exporter Code (IEC) will become operational with effect from January 1, 2015.

This article was published on December 30, 2014.