Source: News Bharati English15 Oct 2016 12:43:54

New Delhi, October 15: In an ASSOCHAM event Union Commerce Minister, Nirmala Sitharaman stated that in order to relieve the issue of receiving stocks on the airport, seaport and movement of goods inland, government is establishing logistic hubs near sea ports with private sector participation.
Sitharaman while inaugurating an ASSOCHAM conference on ‘Strategies for double digit growth in exports’  said “We are establishing logistic hubs nearer the sea ports, as many of them, I may not be able to give a final picture, I think this would address immediate concerns that would be sustainable in the long term.”

 “In 36 landing areas, the regional authorities representing the DGFT (Director General of Foreign Trade) office have just initiated a two-day intensive workshop with them to see how best to reach out to exporters, how best to engage with exporters and CBEC (Central Board of Excise and Customs) is also part of this exercise,” said the Minister.

She also informed that the review of Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) is underway. “As of 2015 when FTP was brought out I remember making a clear statement so that there is a sense of stability in the minds of exporters that I shall not review the policy unless we reach the mid-term, the review has commenced. We are doing the FTP review.”

On the issue of 24x7 presence of DGFT and Customs authorities she said, “We shall ensure that there shall not be a day wasted for import or export for some reason when there is a need for an authority to come in to certify or to question or to give clarification, for want of the presence of officers, trade shall not suffer, we shall attend to it.”

Conceding that taxation was a key issue hampering exports’ growth, Ms Sitharaman said, “You cannot be paying tax over tax and exporters cannot be taxed for exporting, we recognize that difficulty and I know GST (Goods and Services Tax) alone cannot give us the solution, in fact the GST would raise the industry’s ambition saying why taxation cannot be simplified and subsume many of tax into GST so that we handle only one.”

Simplification of taxation is the government’s top agenda. She said that the Commerce Ministry was also working on sorting out currency related issues being faced by exporters. “We are not leaving any one area, we are constantly in search of newer markets so that our exporters can benefit, I know the risks involved in some of the countries, and these are issues we are working out.”

On the issue of trade imbalance with China, the Minister said, “Yesterday I have raised this issue with Chinese minister and not for the first time, we have had this dialogue since 2014 but I found yesterday, the minister was very forthcoming.”

She also informed about raising the issue of India’s information technology (IT) sector facing experience related issues in every region. “You enter a country and not each region and that has been held against us, so we have highlighted the point. We have highlighted the fact that they could give us some pilot projects through which we can prove our capability.”

However, she said that more time cannot be wasted. “We have waited for two years, even after this new government has come in, China has been requested that they have to be a lot more open to receive Indian institutions which go there to do business.”

Pharmaceuticals are one of the important areas, where China wants more services to be available. “They want our drugs but unfortunately many of the permissions, certifications are not happening as quickly as they should” she said.