Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Tuesday, Jun 22, 2004
Industry & Economy
Govt to unveil national foreign trade policy in July Focus likely on non-IT services sector
New Delhi , June 21
A NATIONAL foreign trade policy that would go beyond the Exim policy and outline the game plan for enhancing the country's share in global trade would be unveiled by end-July, according to the Commerce and Industry Minister, Mr Kamal Nath.
"We will have an Exim policy for current year. But it will be integrated with the national foreign trade policy, which will go beyond Exim policy. The national foreign trade policy will not negate any of the existing initiatives. It will only supplement and add more voltage to our efforts," Mr Kamal Nath told newspersons here.
He, however, declined to elaborate on the issues that are likely to be addressed under the foreign trade policy. "It's going to take in a lot of things," the Minister said.
There are strong indications that the foreign trade policy document would place special emphasis on the services sector and steps that would be taken to boost export competitiveness in non-IT services sector. The Commerce Minister is keen to enable the non-IT services sector register a quantum jump in exports.
On his recent visit to Sao Paulo for attending the G-20 Ministerial, Mr Kamal Nath said that the G-20 communiqué (June 12) has set out the criteria that would lead to the signing of the framework agreement.
"The framework agreement, if achieved in end-July, would encompass the principles that would determine the future formulas on tariff reduction. I hope that a framework agreement is reached to take forward the stalled WTO talks. The next three weeks would be a crucial phase for reaching a consensus on the framework agreement," he said.
Mr Kamal Nath also said that attempts are being made by his Ministry to see to it that services get as much importance as agriculture and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) in the framework agreement.
The G-20 communiqué at Sao Paulo emphasised that any framework text must be fully consistent with the Doha mandate. It also held that the framework text should "lead to the establishment of modalities capable of ensuring substantial reductions in trade-distorting domestic support, substantial increase in market access, phasing-out with a view to elimination of all forms of export subsidies and operational and effective special and differential treatment, that takes into account food and livelihood security and rural development needs."
At the G-20 Ministerial, India renewed the Government's commitment to the G-20 and also its intention to contribute to further strengthening and consolidation of the Group.
"India has underlined the importance on movement on all three pillars - domestic support, export subsidy and market access - in tandem," Mr Kamal Nath said.
In the domestic support pillar, the importance of substantial overall cuts in all forms of trade-distorting support and the need to prevent shifting of support from one category to another or among products has been stressed.
"We also emphasised that all elements of export subsidies should be eliminated by a credible date across each product. India was categorical that the solution on the market access pillar should fully address the food and livelihood security concerns of developing countries while also meeting the requirements of developing countries with export interests particularly in developed countries," Mr Kamal Nath said.
India also maintained that the principles that should guide the formula for tariff reductions should provide a method for treatment of sensitive products and should establish proportionality based on less than full reciprocity in the tariff reductions and other market access commitments between developed and developing countries.
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