India to push for MSMEs strategy at BRICS meet

Amiti Sen New Delhi | Updated on January 11, 2018 Published on July 31, 2017

Commerce Minister Nirmala Sitharaman will be attending the two-day summit of BRICS Trade Ministers in Shanghai

To guard against discussion on e-commerce

India will push for early finalisation of a joint growth strategy for micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) while checking China’s attempts to expand the scope of discussions on e-commerce at the BRICS trade ministers meeting beginning in Shanghai on Tuesday.

Commerce & Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman — who will attend the two-day meeting with her counterparts from Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa — is also likely to make a stronger case for cooperation in non-tariff measures (NTMs), the services sector and standardisation and conformity assessments, a government official told BusinessLine.

“At the BRICS Summit in Goa last year, members agreed to work towards greater integration of MSMEs in regional and global value chains. India wants to ensure that the framework for implementing such integration is in place at the earliest,” the official added.

India, which has taken the lead in strategising to integrate MSMEs in the region, organised a round-table on the sector last year. It proposed a mechanism for cooperation to regulate tariffs, check non-tariff measures (NTMs), ensure transparency in sanitary & phytosanitary measures and exchange information on regulatory mechanisms.

“New Delhi also believes that for full exploitation of the trade potential within the bloc, NTMs, which are generally in the form of technical and standards barriers, need to go. It will continue to stress on cooperation in NTMs, standardisation and conformity assessments,” the official said.

Trade amongst BRICS nations in 2014 was just $297 billion which was less than five per cent of the five countries’ $6.5 trillion worth trade with the world.

Easing visas

Easier visas for the business community and lower restrictions on movement of professionals are other areas where the country is putting its weight behind.

India, however, has to be cautious on handling discussions on e-commerce cooperation being pushed by China and Russia. Economic and technological cooperation is likely to be included in the agenda, thanks to the host nation, where proposals for enhanced cooperation in e-commerce could be made.

“Measures for greater transparency in e-commerce is acceptable but what is worrying is that countries may try to aim for more. Some proposals on cooperation in e-commerce that would include development of trans-boundary trust space (by setting up common trust infrastructure such as servers) for acceptance of e-documents between member countries are already floating around. We are not ready for such levels of ambitions,” the official added.

China is also likely to make a case for lower market access restrictions amongst members though its earlier proposal for a free trade zone had not been received well by other members.

Published on July 31, 2017

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