Foreign Trade Policy for 2014-19 to be announced by new govt

The Commerce Ministry has initiated the process of formulating the country's foreign trade policy (FTP) for the period 2014-19 which will be unveiled by the new government.

"The Director General of Foreign Trade has started the consultation process for the FTP. Ministries including Textiles, MSME and Food Processing have already been consulted on the matter. By April, the FTP will be ready," a senior official in the Commerce Ministry said.

Other stakeholders such as industry chambers CII, Ficci, Assocham and export promotion councils will also be consulted for the policy.

The official said that the new policy would include a long and medium term strategy to enhance trade competitiveness and overall growth of India's foreign commerce.

All exports and imports related activities are governed by the FTP. It mainly aims at enhancing the country's exports and use trade expansion as an effective instrument of economic growth and employment generation.

The five year FTP (2009-14) would end on March 31, 2014.

The current policy provided fiscal incentives including that of interest subsidy and other duty neutralisation schemes.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) president Rafeeq Ahmed said that in the new policy, government should fix the trade target for five years.

"Annual targets are too short. We should fix target for five years and look at ways on how to reach those targets. We will discuss all this in the meeting with the Commerce Secretary on Feb 20," he added.

India's exports are expected to touch $325 billion in the current fiscal from $178 billion in 2009-10. However, widening trade deficit is still a big concern for the government. It had touched an all time high of $191 billion last fiscal.

Exports grew by a meagre 3.79 per cent in January to $26.7 billion while imports, particularly of gold and silver, declined, narrowing trade deficit sharply to $9.92 billion in the month.

Lok Sabha polls are expected in April-May this year.

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