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Exporters hold interactive session with Commerce Secy in Kolkata

Indian exports has been on an upward trend in last few months with export of USD 275 billion in last fiscal and a target of USD 325 billion to achieve in 2017-18. The export sector welcomes the introduction of GST as its spin off effect would benefit both the manufacturing and export sector.

At this juncture, with an objective to dovetail India’s Foreign Trade Policy with the upcoming GST implementation, Rita Teaotia, Commerce Secretary, Ministry of Commerce & Industry interacted with the EXIM fraternity at Kolkata, seeking policy inputs and suggestions, at a midterm review of Foreign Trade Policy interactive session recently. The session was organized by Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) in association with Engineering Export Promotion Council (EEPC) & Gems and Jewellery Export Promotion Council (GJEPC). A K Bhalla, DGFT, Department of Commerce was also present at the meeting.

FIEO president, Ganesh Kumar Gupta, in his welcome address stated that while India did show a positive trend on exports since the last 9 months, there is a bit of anxiety in the business with regard to GST. While India’s share in global exports has increased from 1.6 percent to1.64 percent in 2016, presently it is 1.84 percent on a target of 2.4 percent in global trade as per WTO.

Arun Garodia, regional chairman, EEPC and P C Pincha, regional chairman, GJEPC shared their inputs on the engineering sector & gems and jewellery sector respectively.

A presentation on GST presented by Ajay Sahai, DG & CEO, FIEO was a very insightful overview of the impact of GST on EXIM trade. A K Bhalla, DGFT responded to the issues of the export sector, some of which were relating to EDI system, caution list by RBI, and GST.

Teaotia in her address stated that GST is a well needed reform and the transition will require some time and calibrated process of FTP will be continuous. Responding to exporters’ queries she stated that direct delivery of MEIS scrips will be possible once the interface between ICEGATE and DGFT is seamless and that e-Bank guarantees are also in the pipeline. With regard to shipping lines overcharging, she stated that the DG shipping has been informed and they are waiting for a response from them. Other points covered were Bangladesh exports, SEZ electricity duty refunds and issues related to non EDI land ports.

Nari Kalwani, regional chairman, FIEO ER, highlighted the issues specific to Eastern region specially exports to Bangladesh considering the exponential trade with Bangladesh from this region. Stressing on the fact that West Bengal is the interface for neighboring states and countries, he stated that the EXIM fraternity could look at developing this into an export hub in the future.

The meeting received an overwhelming response from the EXIM fraternity and other stakeholders.

Senior officials from Kolkata Customs, Kolkata Port Trust, WBIDC and Industry department of Government of West Bengal and Airport Authority of India and all concerned facilitating agencies and EPCs took active part in the discussions.

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