2 panels to give inputs on investments, e-commerce

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 12, 2018

JS Deepak, who will take charge as India’s Ambassador at WTO, will head both the committees

Will take a view on India’s position in the two areas at WTO, other trade negotiations

The Centre has kicked off inter-ministerial consultations to generate inputs for framing national policies on investment and e-commerce that could help the country in taking a strong position in the sectors in all on-going trade negotiations.

Two committees, comprising senior officials from a number of key ministries and departments, including the departments of economic affairs (DEA), industrial policy & promotion (DIPP) and commerce, have been constituted with the objective of looking at various elements beneficial to India in the two areas, a government official told BusinessLine.

“We don’t have comprehensive policies either in investments or e-commerce. With these two areas gaining prominence at the World Trade Organisation (WTO) as well as other trade negotiations that India is engaged in, it is time to take a holistic view on what we want and what we don’t,” the official said.

For instance, in investments, India carries out individual bilateral investment treaties with countries and various Ministries, including Finance, Commerce & Industry and Home, have their individual views on it. There exists a Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) policy which is just for market access.

“We need an overall policy for investments which would include all aspects such as facilitation, promotion as well as protection,” the official said.

Similarly, in the area of e-commerce, which is one of the fastest evolving sectors in the world, India needs to know what policy would promote, facilitate and help in its growth.

Both the committees are headed by JS Deepak who will take charge as India’s Ambassador to the WTO in Geneva on June 1. The committee on e-commerce has senior officials from DIPP, Department of Telecom, Ministry of IT and Electronics, Department of Consumer Affairs and Ministry of Corporate Affairs. The committee on investments includes officials from MEITY, DEA, DIPP and Commerce.

In the forthcoming Ministerial meet of the WTO at Buenos Aires, several countries have submitted proposals for e-commerce and investment facilitation.

Even in on-going regional and bilateral negotiations such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnerhship and the FTAs with the EU and Australia, the two areas are up for discussions.

“The two committees would try to zero in on what all would be beneficial for India and where it should draw a line,” the official said.

While there is no deadline yet for the two committees to submit their recommendations to the Centre, it would be well before the WTO Ministerial meeting in December, he added.

Published on May 30, 2017

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