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Export procedures should be simplified: Pillai Print E-mail
Written by Ravi   
Thursday, 24 January 2008

"Krishnamurthy Report on Rupee Impact by January 31"

New Delhi: The Commerce Ministry is seriously considering simplifying export procedures, said Mr G K Pillai, Commerce Secretary, Government of India, at a meeting on Foreign Trade Policy and Trade Issues, organised by Confederation of Indian Industry, on Wednesday. Mr Pillai said: "Our trade policy is complicated. This discourages our exporters. The focus should shift from getting a number of approvals from various government agencies to self-certification. The majority should not suffer for misdeeds of a handful of unscrupulous exporters." 

He said the need of the hour is to cut the number of export incentives. "We should have only meaningful incentives to promote the competitiveness of our exporters," Mr Pillai said. He said the government had set a export target of $160 billion for 2007-08. It seems the country will miss the target by $10 billion because of slow growth in some sectors.

Mr Pillai said the the Krishnamurthy Committee will submit its recommendations to arrest the slowdown in exports from labour-intensive sectors. The committee will submit its report by January 31 and suggest measures to deal with the impact of appreciating rupee on exports. Mr Pillai underlined the importance technology to make exports value added. He assured that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) will be involved in export technology meetings along with chief executive officers.

Mr Pillai said negotiations for FTA between India and ASEAN are on track. He added FTA talks with Japan, Korea and the European Union are also progressing well. Mr Pillai called upon exporters to file correct returns as any discrepancy leads to misleading export figures of the country. Mr Pillai underlined the government's commitment to make electronic commerce a reality soon. He said, "Electronic Data Interface (EDI) will be operational by the end of this year. The entire export process will be electronic. Exporters will have to deal with only one bank."

In the background of changing global economic environment, Mr Pillai called for proper training of officials from trade, revenue and finance services to make them appreciate the needs of exporters. He assured that the Commerce Ministry will take up the issue with the Finance Ministry. Mr Pillai expressed concern at rising crude prices and import bill and asked for more exports for a better balance of payment situation.

Speaking at the meeting, Mr Rakesh Shrivastava, Joint Secretary, Ports, Ministry of Shipping, Road Transport & Highways, Government, said: "The ministry is planning a corpus of Rs 500 crore to provide assistance to state maritime boards for dredging and rail-road related activities." He also informed the gathering that the Model Concession Agreement has been approved by the government.

Mr Shrivastava said, "We are encouraging non-major ports to collaborate with major ports. We are also taking the infrastructure development of non-major ports seriously." He also underlined the government's commitment to cut turnaround time to make Indian ports globally competitive. A DGFT panel is studying how to bring down transaction cost, he added.

Earlier, speaking at the meeting, R S Gujral, Director General of Foreign Trade, said: "Trade should be hassle-free. DGFT should be a fecilitator not regulator."

Making welcome remarks, Mr Sanjay Budhia, Chairman, CII Trade Committee & managing Director, Patton International Limited, said, Exports have been under pressure this year due to rising rupee. Foreign policy needs to focus on building overall competitiveness of Indian industry that is involved in exports so that it can withstand the pressure, which it faces in the coming years.
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