Foreign trade policy expected after Budget

The Ministry of Commerce and Industry is expected to announce the new five-year foreign trade policy (2009-14) after the Budget as it seeks to boost manufacturing and exports, among other things.

"The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is already doing stakeholder consultations. It is expected that the new FTP would be announced only after the Budget. It would help in giving final touch to the policy," sources said.

The BJP-led National Democratic Alliance, which got a clear mandate in the general elections, is expected to form the government soon and come out with the final budget for 2014-15 some time in July.

Faced with subdued export performance, the new FTP would focus on a range of issues, including the services sector, standards and branding of products.

India's exports in the past three years have hovered at about $ 300 billion. The policy is aimed at boosting overseas shipments and enhancing its share of world trade.

Exports in 2013-14 increased to $ 312.35 billion, short of the target of $ 325 billion. Overseas shipments stood at $ 300.4 billion in 2012-13 and $ 307 billion in 2011-12.

"The new FTP would focus on enhancing services exports, standards and branding of products to promote exports of specific products in specific geographies. The policy may review the current schemes which are not in compliance with World Trade Organization norms," an official said.

According to global rules, India cannot provide export subsidy to a sector if the share of the segment's shipments exceed 3.5 per cent of the global market.

Citing the example of textiles, an industry source said the sector's exports are reported to have crossed the 3.5 per cent limit in the global market and India will not be able to provide subsidy to the segment.

Federation of Indian Export Organisations Director General & CEO Ajay Sahai, too, said the new policy is expected in August.

The FTP applies to all export- and import-related activity. It is aimed at enhancing exports and using trade expansion as an effective instrument of economic growth and employment generation.

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