Commerce Minister calls on Ministries to prepare action plan for boosting exports

The Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Mr Suresh Prabhu, addressed secretaries and senior officers in the first inter-ministerial meeting on Sectoral Export Promotion Strategy this week. The meeting was attended by Secretaries to the Government of India from Department of Commerce, DIPP, Electronics and IT, Animal Husbandry and Dairying and MSME, besides senior officers from about 14 other administrative Ministries/Departments including Agriculture, Textiles, Petroleum, Food Processing Industries, Pharma, Chemical and Petrochemical, Defence Production and MEA which are concerned with various product groups that comprise a substantial part of India’s merchandise exports.

The Commerce Minister emphasised that exports are strategically important and that sustained growth in exports is critical for India. It is, therefore, imperative to promote exports as a combined and joint mission, which requires the effort of all ministries and departments of the government.

Mr Prabhu asked all officers to prepare an action plan on boosting exports of products being handled by their respective Ministries and send it to the Department of Commerce within the next fortnight. The action plan should also have short-term targets which are achievable in the next two months. The Department of Commerce will take the assistance of the Ministry of External Affairs to implement the action plans through India’s commercial missions abroad.

The Minister informed that the Union Cabinet has accorded approval of Rs 5,000 crore to promote export of services in champion sectors, and the Department of Commerce (DoC) is organising the next global exhibition on export of services in Mumbai on May 15, 2018. He stated that the DoC is now actively associating with state governments for promoting exports, recognising the fact that states are the key stakeholders in export growth. Regional authorities of the Directorate-General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) have been assigned enhanced roles and responsibilities to liaise with state governments to assist in the formulation and implementation of state export policy and strategy and to represent the Department of Commerce in the State and Union Territory governments. Officers have been asked to identify a few districts under their jurisdiction to assess and prepare a dossier on their export potential and initiate measures to realise the full potential of actual exports from that area, he said.

He added that on the external front, the DoC has engaged with about 150 countries in the last few months. A task force on SEZs has also been set up to ensure that export potential from these zones is utilised fully. He informed the respective Ministries and Departments that DoC as well as the ITPO can organise road shows and exhibitions for their sectors and products. He said that a holistic approach to manufacturing and exports is the need of the hour, as a protectionist approach may actually have a negative impact on value-added items of export. There is need to look for new markets as well as export new products. Ministries should work out the strategy, and after receiving the plans, DoC will organise further meetings with export promotion councils, trading houses as well as major exporters. A ‘Best Exporting Ministry/Dept. Award’ will also be announced, he disclosed.

The Minister advised the EXIM bank to prepare an action plan to alleviate the financial difficulties being faced by exporters. Similarly, the FPI sector can take the help of NABARD for financing their projects. He announced that the arrangement for having inter-ministerial meetings to boost exports with the concerned administrative ministries will be institutionalised by DoC, said a release.

Source : Exim News Service – New Delhi, May 9