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New trade policy unveiled; focus on boosting svcs, exports

Mumbai,April 1(CNBC):  The commerce ministry Wednesday announced its new Foreign Trade Policy for the period 2015-2020.

To address the infrastructural bottlenecks, complex procedures and manufacturing hurdles, the new trade policy announced two new schemes — Merchandise Exports From India Scheme (MEIS) and Services Exports From India Scheme (SIES).

Addressing the media, Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said the focus of foreign trade policy is to support services and exports along with improving the ease of doing business. “The new trade policy will boost exports, create jobs while supporting ‘Make In India’ and ‘Digital India’… Will focus on defence, pharma, environment-friendly products and value-added exports.”

The current WTO rules envisage phasing out of export subsidies eventually. We need to ensure local products and services are globally competitive, the minister said.

Sitharaman said the export obligation under EPCG scheme will be reduced by 25 percent to promote domestic manufacturing, adding that the government will continue incentives for units located in special economic zones (SEZs).

Stating that India is completely committed to WTO process, Commerce Secretary Rajeev Kher said the new trade policy includes the process of incentivisation. “India is not in a position to sign mega agreements. It is important to rationalise the country’s tariff structure with reference to intermediaries and be more competitive,” Kher said. The 5-year foreign trade policy will be reviewed after two-and-half years, he added. 

Moneycontrol Bureau

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