Parliamentary Consultative Committee (Commerce) Reviews India’s Trade Performance

Parliamentary Consultative Committee (Commerce) Reviews India’s Trade Performance 
Parliamentary Consultative Committee (attached to the Ministry of Commerce & Industry) held its meeting at Goa today and reviewed India’s trade performance during the current financial year. The meeting was chaired by Commerce Minister Smt. Nirmala Sitharaman and was attended by Shri Dinesh Trivedi, MP(Lok Sabha), Smt. Jyoti Dhurve, MP(Lok Sabha) and Shri Ajay Sancheti, MP(Rajya Sabha).

Director General, Foreign Trade (DGFT) Shri Anup Wadhawan apprised the committee of the India’s trade performance in the current financial year. DGFT also gave a detailed presentation highlighting the important provisions of Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020. He gave a summary of the export performance during the period April-September, 2015. He informed that

• Exports during this period have decreased by 17.6 %.

• Imports decreased by 14.2 %

• Trade deficit is the silver lining.

• For merchandise trade, it has come down by 6.5%. In value terms, it has decreased from in US$ 72.7 Billion in April to September 2015 to US$ 68 Billion over the same period previous year.

• Trade deficit for merchandise and services together was US$ 130.7 Billion in the year 2012-13. It improved to US$ 68.5 Billion in the year 2014-15

He also informed that the govt have recently expanded the coverage of Merchandise Exports of India Scheme (MEIS) on 29th October, 2015.

Speaking on the occasion, Commerce Minister highlighted that Foreign Trade Policy 2015-2020 had a sharper focus recognising that in the present scenario of global slowdown, reducing demand and falling commodity prices, the FTP has to be more vibrant and capitalise on the traditional strength of Indian economy.

Ms Sitharaman said that the Policy has been formulated with a long term focus and the Ministry would think on any changes only after around 21/2 years for undertaking any mid-term course correction. She said that the Policy has provided a direction so that India should not be just an exporter of raw material but should have presence in the world’s markets in value added services.

Shri Dinesh Trivedi, MP (Lok Sabha) highlighted the concerns on 24% decline in exports in the month of September, 2015. He focussed on Chinese trade data highlighting that most of the imports from China are consumer items and for Make In India to be successful, China must be countered. He also observed that the Ease of Doing Business is still not happening and there was a need to develop trust in the industry/ businessmen to make things easy for them.

Shri Ajay Sancheti, MP(Rajya Sabha) highlighted the challenges posed by the rapid growth in e-commerce. He also raised the issue of import of Tuar Daal saying that there was number of countries having abundant stock of Tuar Daal which needs to be explored by the Commerce Ministry.

Smt. Jyoti Dhurve, MP(Lok Sabha) stressed on the need for diversification in the export market to counter China.

Shri Anup Wadhawan, DGFT and Shri R.R.Rashmi, Additional Secretary briefed the Committee on the measures taken by the Government to tackle the present situation of declining exports and the trade deficit with China.

In her response to the suggestions given by the Committee members, Commerce Minister Ms Nirmala Sitharaman said that focus was being given on sectors such as Pharma/ IT/ ITES/Gems & Jewellery/ Textiles/ Fruits & Vegetables/ meat Exports etc to improve India’s exports to China. The Commerce Minister highlighted the concern that China has been making efforts to stall India’s exports through non-tariff barriers such as Phytosanitary stipulations, standardisation issues etc.

She said that she has already spoken to the Chinese Trade Minister on the sidelines of G-20 wherein China was apprised of those action points where the Chinese Govt has accepted India’s stand but has not implemented them.

The Commerce Minister appreciated the presence of the members and assured that the Government was fully geared up to meet the challenges through exports on account of slowdown in the global economy. 

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