1. Industry meets Nirmala Sitharaman, flags FTAs

Industry meets Nirmala Sitharaman, flags FTAs

Representatives of industry raised concerns about the impact of various free-trade agreements (FTAs) on the country’s trade and sought more clarity on guidelines governing e-commerce in a meeting with commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

By: | Published: January 8, 2016 1:09 AM

Representatives of industry raised concerns about the impact of various free-trade agreements (FTAs) on the country’s trade and sought more clarity on guidelines governing e-commerce in a meeting with commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Thursday.

The important issues flagged by industry also include ways to promote start-ups, a surge in imports, competitiveness of some sectors and boosting investments, Sitharaman said after the meeting.

India has already forged free trade pacts with countries like Japan, Singapore and South Korea, as well as Asean. Domestic industry has often complained that partner-nations have benefited more from such pacts than India, which has also contributed in good measures to trade deficit. India’s trade deficit touched a record $190 billion in 2012-13 before easing to $137 billion in 2014-15. Between April and November this fiscal, it stood at $88 billion, thanks to lower commodity prices.

The minister is also learnt to have assured them to look at their demand on the abolition of the inverted duty structure in some sectors which are affecting manufacturing. She asked industry to improve competitiveness but sought to allay fears about the impact of the proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal between the US and 11 others, said a source. She reiterated India’s increased focus on nations such as Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam.

Senior ministry officials also apprised industry of topics such as Start-up India and Make in India.

The chambers suggested further easing of the foreign direct investment (FDI) regime and sought more clarity on e-commerce. CII president-designate Naushad Forbes said regulatory burden on the firms that are below a certain threshold, say with less than R5 crore capital, be removed to make the start-up space more attractive.

Former Ficci president Harsh Pati Singhania said: “On start-ups, we suggested looking at several issues such as facilitating start-ups and closing of start-ups, funding and tax ambiguity for those who fund them.”

Ficci also suggested that the government could consider permitting 100%FDI in multi-brand retail in non-food segments such as electronics, apparels and fresh food product. Ficci pitched for allowing FDI in multi-brand retail in B2C e-commerce in a phased manner, and “there could be a requirement to source significantly from within India”.

Ficci also said the services provided by the marketplace model on a par with brick and mortar stores can be treated in a similar manner, since both serve consumers. “Thus, apt treatment should be made under the relevant Acts governing internal trade, like the Consumer Protection Act, 1986 and Drugs and Cosmetics Act,” it said.

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  1. Hemen Parekh
    Jan 8, 2016 at 6:01 am
    Lessons from History ? Courtesan of King Canute tried to flatter him by saying : " Sire ! Tide will stop rolling in , if only you order it to do so " King Canute was a wise man and knew that laws of Nature cannot be countered , even by a King To drive home this point , he sat on a chair on the sea-s and ordered the tide to stop Sure enough , tide chose to ignore his wishes and wet his feet ! Courtesan hid their faces ! Some people in India are refusing to learn their lesson from what is happening all around the World as far as E - Commerce is concerned They are asking the King ( fill in the name ! ) , to stop E Commerce in: * Multi-B Retail * Local Kirana shops * Medicines ( E Pharmacies ) * Transport ( Uber / Ola / Car Pooling / Aggregation ) * Buyer / Seller online platforms for a mulude of services * Anything where current vested interests feel threatened Not realizing that the following powerful forces ( working for E Commerce ) , are un-stoppable : * 13 million Retailers of the country ( includes Kirana shops ) want to sell " More and her " They want to be able to sell beyond 1 Km of their physical location ( their current limitation ) Only way they can compete with their " Neighboring Store ", is to sell " On line " Since most cannot afford to set up their own web sites , they will join Amazon / Snapdeal / Flipkart etc * Already some 100 companies have launched Mobile Wallets . Before long , every bank / ISP / MSP / NBFC / Trade ociation / Hotel Chain / FMCG manufacturers etc , will launch its own Wallets * Soon traffic in cities will become so bad that it will render " Outdoor Shopping " impossible . People will prefer to shop everything on-line * Internet broadband will reach every nook and corner of India , making E Com web sites accessible to millions of rural people * By 2020 , every Indian will have a Smart Phone connected to internet 24*7 * And by 2020 , at least some refrigerators will start replenishing on their own, by placing orders on most compeive online E Com web sites ! Internet of Things ! * Around the same time , Google / Amazon / eBay etc will start their own " Drone based " deliveries in 2 hours ! * Not to be outdone , many online E Com platforms ( web sites ) will come forward and install in your kitchen , a 3D printer , through which , they will deliver any product that your refrigerator wants replenished ! * Holograms will enable you to try out in the comfort of your homes , any item of personal wear ! So , why trudge to a physical store ? Hiding your head in the sand is no way to avoid the incoming storm ! Writing is on the Wall ! Those who refuse to swim with the current are bound to sink ! I am no Nostradamus but you may still want to look up my forecasts on, / Blogs ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------ hemen parekh 08 Jan 2016

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