Welcoming the Ministers from 8 States, Additional Chief Secretaries & Principal Secretaries from other States and other members of the Council from the Centre for the 2nd meeting of the Council for Trade Development and Promotion, Union Commerce & Industry Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman appreciated the active role of the States in partnering with the Centre in the continued efforts to boost India’s exports.
The Commerce & Industry Minister exhorted the Members of the Council to jointly address impediments in trade and the infrastructure gaps which adversely affect India’s exports. She said that in the 1st meeting of the Council, a constructive dialogue with the State Governments and UTs took place for creating an enabling environment to boost International trade. The Centre has made efforts to resolve the issues raised by the States during the 1st meeting.
To reduce the impact of global economic slowdown on Indian exports, the Commerce Minister exhorted the States to diversify India’s exports basket by enabling more sectors and breaching new markets.
Nirmala Sitharaman asked the State Governments to enhance cooperation with Central agencies to create facilities for testing, certification, storage and packaging.
She mentioned that as can be seen on the Indian trade portal, a 100-150 SPS notifications and a similar number of TBT notifications are being issued by WTO member countries each month. Around 50% to 60% of these measures have the potential to impact our trade. Three sector specific needs can broadly be categorised into interventions required for agri & marine products, for forest produce and for industrial products.
The Minister drew the attention of the States to expedite the preparation of the export strategies in line with the Foreign Trade Policy and in the appointment of Export Commissioners for the state. She requested that the Export Commissioner be made the single window focal point for the interaction with the exporters from the State.
The Minister drew the attention of States towards promoting Services Exports where we have a substantial Trade surplus. She mentioned that we need to diversify our export basket on services, beyond IT and ITeS, to encompass yoga, health services, tourism, education in other services.
Sh.Chander Mohan Patowary, Minister from Assam flagged issues for improving trade from NE states. There is a need to promote higher investments in infrastructure and Trade Centres. More ICPs to international standards needed. Industrial corridor from Guwahati to Mandalay will benefit the ASEAN markets.
Shri P. Narayana, Minister from Andhra Pradesh requested assistance for NABL accredited labs at Guntur, support of Central Government for setting up a logistic institute.
Shri Amar Aggarwal, Minister from Chattisgarh sought measures to enhance the competitiveness of the tribal states by promoting forest produce. He thanked the Commerce Minister for resolving the issue of HMS Scrap from Raipur which was raised in the 1st Meeting.
Shri Rohit Bhai Patel, Minister from Gujarat appreciated the GoI’s initiative in constituting this Council to facilitate a platform to the States to articulate their views. He emphasized the need to improve quality standards in government procurement to promote a culture of quality consciousness.
Shri C.P.Singh, Minister from Jharkhand stressed the need to increase export of agri products, as Jharkhand is a major producer of agri products. He informed that they have formulated an export policy recently. He said Jharkhand is proactive in taking up labour reforms.
The Kerala Industry & Trade Minister, Shri A.C Moideen, sought proactive measures to curb liberal imports of agricultural products to ensure the livelihood security of domestic farmers. He said that farmers must be insulated from the crippling impact of Free Trade Agreements (FTAs). He also sought restoration of the ASIDE scheme.
Shri Rajendra Shukla, Minister from Madhya Pradesh sought measures to enhance the competitiveness of the land locked states by providing suitable infrastructure and transport assistance. He also requested for air cargo facility at Indore.
The Industry Minister from Rajasthan, Shri Rajpal Shekawat sought assistance for land locked states. He also requested the setting up of an ICD at Bhiwadi and Sirohi for promoting exports from the industrial area and notification of a Special Notified zone at Jaipur amongst other measures for promoting Gem and Jewellery exports.Other States also gave specific suggestions on their respective areas of concern. In particular, most of the States highlighted the importance for restoring the ASIDE schemes.
The Heads of the Apex trade bodies FIEO, FICCI, ASSOCHAM and CII gave their views and suggestions for improving exports amidst the challenging world economic scenario.