India does not subsidise exports, complies with WTO norms, says Suresh Prabhu

By: |
Kolkata | July 07, 2018 10:05 PM

Dispelling the "misconception" that India subsidises its exports, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu today asserted that the country fully complies with the guidelines of the WTO, which itself is "under threat".

Union Commerce and Industry Minister Suresh Prabhu (PTI)

Dispelling the “misconception” that India subsidises its exports, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu today asserted that the country fully complies with the guidelines of the WTO, which itself is “under threat”. Batting for the global trade body, Prabhu said all countries will face problems if there is no WTO.

He said the government was merely trying to mitigate the adversities of exporters, which did not tantamount to subsidising of exports from India. “It is a misconception that we subsidise our exports. We are fully WTO compliant and not at all violating those,”

Prabhu said at an event here. The minister, at a separate event, said that the “very existence the World Trade Organization (WTO) is now under threat”, but India strongly supports its need for regulating trade norms. “But, if there is no WTO, all countries will face problems. There will be chaos,” Prabhu said.

He said India strongly feels that WTO is a must as it guarantees rules and regulations of world trade but admitted that reforms within the global trade body were also needed. “There is need to keep the WTO alive and strong for which an initiative was taken to arrange a mini-ministerial meeting in Delhi, after the failure of ministerial talks at Buenos Aires (Argentina),” he said.

India is also trying to forge a number of bilateral trading agreements with Latin America, Africa, ASEAN, Europe, the UK, central Asia, GCC, Far East and China, Prabhu said. On the trade dispute with the US, he said India is trying to resolve the matter. With China, India is making efforts to reduce the huge trade deficit, the minister said. The Commerce Ministry, in association with exporters’ bodies, is in the process of preparing a product-market matrix for realisation of additional exports to the tune of USD 100 billion in the next few years.

He also pitched for granting priority sector status to exports to facilitate financing. “We also must have agencies like Japan’s Jetro, Australia’s Austrade, and are working on those lines,” the minister said. Elaborating on the issue of export subsidies, Prabhu said that the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) countries were giving more subsidies to their farmers, particularly in the export of agriculture products.

The minister said it was important to provide market access to the farmers for which the highest standard of safety
was needed to overcome the non-tariff barriers (NTBs). The government is already working on a draft agriculture policy to double farmers’ income, he said. “The commerce department is already working on the development of standards. The standard in the Western countries is very high.”

Regarding GST refund to exporters, he said the issue has been addressed to a great extent. Prabhu, who, is also the civil aviation minister, said that the ministry is preparing separate plans for the manufacturing of drones and planes in the country.

On West Bengal, he said that the Commerce Ministry will work closely with the government of the state, which has a “great potential” to become an economic hub in future. “We want the state to achieve progress. We will work together to ensure that,” the minister added.

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