Foreign trade policy to be unveiled soon: Nirmala Sitharaman

The much-delayed Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which will roll out steps to boost exports, is expected to be unveiled soon…

The much-delayed Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), which will roll out steps to boost exports, is expected to be unveiled soon, Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman said today.

“It has to be happening sooner,” Sitharaman said when asked about the expected time for announcement of the FTP.

The announcement of the FTP (2014-19) has been delayed as ministries of commerce and finance are yet to take the final call on granting tax incentives for export promotion schemes.

The foreign trade policy, which is usually announced in April, provides guidelines for enhancing exports with the overall objective of pushing economic growth and generating employment.

Under the policy, the government gives fiscal incentives to exporters under different promotion schemes such as Market Access Initiative, Marketing Development Assistance, Vishesh Krishi and Gram Udyog Yojana, Focus Market Scheme, Focus Product Scheme and Market Linked Focus Products Scrip.

The Finance Ministry has to allocate funds for these schemes and even after allocation.

Exporters have already raised concerns over the delay in announcement of the FTP. Ten months of the current fiscal are already over.

India’s trade deficit declined to 10-month low of USD 9.43 billion in December mainly on account of falling imports due to slump in crude prices though exports too have come down.

Further on her meeting with US Commerce Secretary Penny Pritzker, she said a joint group will be set up which would have officials from both the countries to look at ways to boost investments in India.

The joint forum will identify and prioritise areas where investments and technology sharing can be done.

“All these are going to be institutionalised and rapidly taken up from March,” the minister said.

She was talking to reporters on the sidelines of Shri Ram Economics Summit here.

On intellectual property rights (IPRs) related issues with the US, she said the American government can comment on the draft policy which is in public domain.

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