Foreign trade policy review may be delayed

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Sept 21, 2017

New Delhi: Exporters may have to wait an extra month, or even more, for the foreign trade policy (FTP) review, earlier scheduled for September, as the government is still grappling with implementation issues related to the Goods and Services Tax (GST).

The Centre has also not taken a call on the future of export incentive schemes that may no longer be permissible under the World Trade Organisation rules as India has graduated out of the list of poorer countries allowed to give export subsidies.

“It is unlikely that the FTP review will be announced before October-end. It may happen even later depending on the pace at which the concerns of exporters are sorted out,” a government official told BusinessLine.The five-year FTP announced on April 1, 2015, which laid an ambitious annual target of touching $900 billion of exports by 2020, provided for a review when the policy was half-way through and not on an annual basis as was the earlier practice. “The idea was not to tinker too much with the policy and instead do an analysis when it was half-way through and do course corrections if required,” the official said.

Two-and-a-half-years after the FTP was announced, the Commerce Ministry finds its hands full with the number of concerns it might need to address while reviewing the policy.

“Addressing the issues arising from implementation of the GST is top priority as it is bothering exporters most. The Centre has to ensure that refund of input taxes happens on time and exemptions may be given where necessary to help exporters maintain their liquidity. This can take time as not only will the Finance Ministry will have to be on board, the GST Council ultimately will have to pass the revisions,” the official said, adding that the Council would next meet only sometime in October.

Sop scheme

Incentive scheme for exporters is another tricky area in the review as earlier this year the WTO declared that India’s per capita Gross National Product (GNP) exceeded $1000 for three years in a row (2013. 2012, 2015) making it ineligible for export incentives that only poorer countries are allowed.

“The Commerce Ministry has to first identify the schemes that could be affected because of India’s new status and then plan how to phase out those schemes and replace them with production subsidies that are allowed under the WTO. This is again an onerous exercise,” the official said.

While the Merchandise Export Incentive Scheme under which incentives based on value of exports is provided to over 7,000 items would no doubt be one of the affected schemes, the government has to examine the validity of other schemes such as interest subvention.

Ambitious target

The ambitious export target of $900 billion fixed for 2020 is also a problem since exports have moved sluggishly over the last two years hovering around $300 billion and there is no scope of reaching the target. “Not only does the target need to be brought down to a realistic level, some more schemes have to be devised to accelerate exports,” the official said.


Indian exports rise for 12th straight month, grow 10.29% in August

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 15, 2017

NEW DELHI: Recovery in global demand helped India’s exports to rebound in August after slowing in July. India’s exports grew 10.3% in August to $23.8 billion. However, imports outpaced exports and grew 21%, widening the trade deficit to $11.6 billion from $7.7 billion in the year ago period.

Traditional sectors like leather, spices, drugs and pharmaceuticals, engineering goods and textiles registered a rise in outward shipments.

India’s exports growth slowed to an eight-month low in July, weighed down by appreciation in the rupee and goods and services tax (GST) regime-related disruptions.
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EU to resume talks with India on free trade agreement, discuss strategic co

Source: Business Standard, Sept 13, 2017

Brussels: The European Union is looking at a bilateral summit with India next month that would act as a catalyst for resumption of talks on the free trade agreement encompassing goods, services and mutual investment protection, according to a senior EU official.

Talks on the Bilateral Trade Investment Agreement (BTIA) — the official title of the pact — started in 2007 but have been marred by various flip-flops and disagreements.The discussions have remained deadlocked on issues like tariffs on automobiles and wines and spirits, Eutrade officials said.

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Government imposes antidumping duty on chemical from 4 countries

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 13, 2017

NEW DELHI: The government has imposed an antidumping duty of up to USD 60.35 per tonne for five years on a chemical used in fertiliser industry from four countries — Russia, Indonesia, Georgia and Iran.

The move would help guard domestic players from below- cost imports of ‘ammonium nitrate’ from these countries.

Deepak Fertilizers and Petrochemicals Corporation Ltd and Smartchem Technologies Ltd had jointly filed an application before the Directorate General of Antidumping and Allied Duties (DGAD) for initiation of the antidumping investigations.

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Apeda plans to spend INR 100 cr to set up more packhouses

Source: The Hindu Business Line, Sept 06, 2017

Bengaluru: In a bid to facilitate more shipments of fruits and vegetables, Apeda plans to strengthen the export infrastructure by setting up more packhouses and expanding the cold-supply chain over the next three years.

“We are going to focus heavily on creation of infrastructure, mainly setting up of packhouses for fruits and vegetables over the next three years,” said D K Singh, Chairman, Agriculture and Processed Foods Export Development Authority (Apeda).

At present there are 250 Apeda-approved packhouses and another 200 in the private sector across the country. “We expect another 200-250 to come up over the next three years. Apeda will provide an assistance of up to INR 75 lakh for each of the pack houses and will spend almost INR 100 crore towards the same,” said Singh.

Product-specific clusters
The initial focus will initially be in the 11 identified product-specific clusters being created across seven States, including Andhra, Karnataka, Kerala, Meghalaya, Telangana, Gujarat and West Bengal, Singh added.

April-July exports up
In the April-July period of the current financial year, fruit and vegetable exports saw a 7 per cent dip at INR 2,911 crore against INR 3,124 crore in the corresponding period last year.

However, the overall exports of Apeda product portfolio grew 6.24 per cent in rupee terms at INR 37,013 crore for April-July period against INR 34,839 crore in corresponding last quarter.

This growth was primarily driven by almost a 25 per cent increase in basmati shipments, the largest product in the Apeda portfolio at INR 10,126 crore (INR 8,139 crore in April-July 2016-17), followed by almost a flattish growth in buffalo meat at INR 7,326 crore (INR 7,344 crore).

Non-basmati rice shipments registered a 10 per cent growth at INR 6,399 crore (INR 5,821 crore), while guargum shipments almost doubled to INR 1,442 crore (INR 751 crore) in value terms.

Self-seal export cargoes without Customs monitoring from October 1

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 05, 2017

NEW DELHI: The Customs department has allowed self-sealing procedure from October 1 for containers to be exported, as it aims to move towards a ‘trust based compliance environment’ and trade facilitation for exporters.

In a circular to all Principal Chief Commissioners, the Central Board of Excise and Customs (CBEC) said exporters who were availing facility of sealing at the factory premises under the supervision of customs authorities will be automatically entitled for self-sealing facility.

It said that permission once granted for self-sealing at an approved premise will remain valid unless withdrawn. However, in case of change in the premise, a fresh approval from Customs department will be required.

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India starts exporting petroleum products to Myanmar

Source:, Sept 04, 2017

Source: The Economic Times, Sept 06, 2017

New Delhi: India on Monday started exporting petroleum products to Myanmar by road, discovering a new market for its fast- growing oil refining sector at a time when renewable energy and electric mobility are laying claim to a higher share of the domestic energy market.

“The first consignment of 30 tonnes of high speed diesel was sent today from India to Myanmar by land route,” said an oil ministry statement, adding that Numaligarh Refinery Ltd. exported the fuel.

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