Free trade pacts effective tools to increase exports

Our Bureau Hyderabad | Updated on November 15, 2017 Published on January 10, 2012

Mr Siddharth (left), Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, and Mr J. A. Chowdhary, Co-Chairman, FICCI, Andhra Pradesh, at the meeting on ‘India’s Engagement with FTAs’ in Hyderabad on Tuesday. — Photo: P. V. Sivakumar   -  Business Line

The need to scale up Indian exports to reduce the trade deficit was discussed at length at a seminar on India's Engagement with Free Trade Agreements here on Tuesday.

Experts emphasised the need to devise ways to reduce the existing high transaction costs, improve infrastructure, especially in ports and follow a strict quality regime.

Mr Siddharth, Joint Secretary, Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said exporters should make optimum use of India's engagement with FTAs that have opened up many markets. “With our import bill going up, it is getting difficult to bridge the trade deficit. Therefore, we have to match the rising imports with increase in exports,” he pointed out.

Listing out the FTAs concluded by India, he said India signed the first trade agreement with South Korea in 2009 and later with Japan and Malaysia in 2011. “We signed an agreement with ASEAN as a group in 2009, but it came into being with individual countries only in 2010 and 2011,” he said.

He pointed out that Japan opened 87 per cent of its tariff lines on zero duty in the first year, while India gave 16 per cent. “These agreements are effective tool to gain market access,” he said.

Mr Walter D'Souza, Regional Chairman of the Federation of Indian exporters Organisation, lamented about the inadequacies in the Indian ports sector, which prolonged the turnaround time of ships carrying goods for exports as compared to foreign ports.

Published on January 10, 2012
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