The Union Minister of Commerce and Industry & Railways, Piyush Goyal, chaired a meeting of the Board of Trade (BoT) and held a day-long interaction with the Industry and Agriculture Ministers and officials of various States, industry representatives, Export Promotion Councils and officers of the economic and infrastructure Ministries of the Central Government for identifying and addressing issues aimed at boosting exports and improving competitiveness of domestic manufacturing.
The Minister addressed the gathering and noted that significant progress has been made since the last Board of Trade meeting held on 6 June 2019, and an action taken report in the matter has been shared with stakeholders.
In the area of export credit, including forex credit, especially with regard to credit at affordable terms and in sufficient volume, Piyush Goyal informed that the contours of a scheme will be soon shared by the Government. In addition, he informed that ECGC procedures and practices are being revamped to make them more exporter friendly. He also assured that issues raised by States will be resolved expeditiously.
The Commerce and Industry Minister also stressed the importance of cooperative and competitive federalism for faster growth and the need for transforming each district into an export hub to fulfil the vision of Prime Minister to make India a USD 5 trillion economy within the next five years. He emphasized the need to prioritize the area of addressing key issues related to imports, including unfair competition through dumping and subsidies, and import of sub-standard products due to lack of standards, while enabling smooth import of key inputs and raw materials.
During the day-long deliberations, Export Promotion Council and other Industry bodies raised the issue of transparency in risky exporters by Customs/GST authorities, GST refunds, declining export credit, requirement of collaterals and inverted duty structure.
Various States also participated in the discussions and raised the matter of special packages for automobile, textiles, diamonds and fisheries as these sectors are facing problems leading to loss of employment.
Issue of extension of sunset clause in respect of SEZs, technology park for ancillary industries in defence sector, and promotion of border trade from North Eastern States were also discussed. Deliberations were also carried out with regard to utilising opportunities in Free Trade Agreements, addressing key regulatory concerns related to imports. Specific action points for expediting IGST refunds, timely disbursal of export incentives, reducing logistics costs, improving ease of doing business in all States, increasing domestic manufacturing and reducing inessential imports were identified.
While noting that many States have finalized export strategies since the last BoT meeting, the remaining States were urged to finalise their export strategies at the earliest keeping in view their state specific requirements and advantages. It was also suggested that a State level senior officer may be appointed exclusively as Trade Facilitation Commissioner in each State to look into trade and export facilitation.
Minister of State (Independent Charge) Housing and Urban Affairs and Civil Aviation and Minister of State, Commerce & Industry,Hardeep Singh Puri, and Minister of State for Commerce & Industry,SomParkash, also participated in the deliberations. Amitabh Kant, CEO NITI Ayog, AnupWadhawan, Commerce Secretary GuruprasadMohapatra, Secretary DPIIT were also present during the conference.
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