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Commerce Ministry division to track FTA utilisation

Dec 05, 2019

India’s existing free trade agreements (FTAs) with partner countries are likely to be monitored by a separate division to be created in the Commerce & Industry Ministry. This division will keep track of the extent to which FTAs are being utilised by Indian industry and also identify non-tariff measures that are acting as hurdles.
 
The Commerce & Industry Ministry is considering setting up a trade monitoring division that will monitor utilisation of current FTAs and the non-tariff measures taken by partner countries, a government official told BusinessLine.
 
The division, if created, will also take note of the trade diversion taking place due to third country FTAs and will give the Ministry some indication of whether an FTA needs to be explored with a particular country or grouping.
 
It is to coordinate with the Directorate General of Foreign Trade, the Department of Revenue and the Directorate General of Commercial Intelligence and Statistics.
 
After India’s last-minute decision to exit the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership — a mega FTA being negotiated between 16 countries — the government is focussing more on trying to understand how free trade pacts could work for India.
 
The RCEP included the 10-member ASEAN, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Swedish King Carl XVI Gustaf in India: Three MoUs signed to strengthen bilateral relations

Dec 05, 2019

The King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia arrived in India on a five-day visit recently. He met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind during his visit. There was a discussion between PM Modi and King of Sweden to strengthen the relationship between both countries.
 
King Gustaf arrived in New Delhi by Air India plane. Air India itself shared his pictures, which later went viral and people praised for his simplicity. He also met Foreign Minister S Jaishankar.
    
Source: Jagranjosh



Why India-Japan ties matter more than ever?

Dec 05, 2019

Whereas India-China and Japan-China ties are unlikely to become non-adversarial in the near future, the forthcoming summit between prime ministers Shinzo Abe and Narendra Modi will cement the Japan-India relationship as Asia’s fastest growing relationship, and open the path to a military logistics pact to allow access to each other’s bases. Indeed, the deepening relationship between Asia’s richest democracy and the world’s largest democracy serves the goal of forestalling the emergence of a Sino-centric Asia.
 
Recently, the Indian and Japanese foreign and defence ministers held their first joint meeting in a so-called two plus two format. India has set up such a two plus two dialogue with all the other Quad members. The Quad offers a promising platform for strategic maritime cooperation and coordination. But there is no guarantee it will fulfil that promise.
 
The India-Japan entente is a central pillar of the United States-led strategy for a free and open Indo-Pacific — a concept authored by Abe. Today, Japan and India serve as the linchpins for establishing a rules-based Indo-Pacific order. However, US President Donald Trump’s free and open Indo-Pacific strategy, like his predecessor’s pivot to Asia, hasn’t been translated into a clear policy approach with any real strategic heft. It is thus important for Japan and India to contribute their bit.
    
Source: Hindustan Times



Seed industry proposes changes in Seed Bill 2019

Dec 05, 2019

The National Seed Association of India (NSAI), which represents top seed companies in the country, on Wednesday suggested some changes in the proposed Seed Bill 2019, including a more scientific definition of transgenic variety, enhanced farmer rights on seeds and enlisting the services of private firms for evaluating new varieties before seed registration.
 
In letters written to Indian Council of Agricultural Research - Director General (ICAR) Trilochan Mahapatra and others, NSAI said there is a serious lacuna in the definition of transgenic variety, which was not clear and also unscientific. This needs to be corrected, the organisation said in a statement. This is a very critical bill, which affects all Indians. No decision should be made in haste, and hence we have sent additional comments for the government, NSAI president Prabhakar Rao said.
 
According to NSAI, the Seed Act 1966, which India passed immediately after the advent of Green Revolution, was inspired by the US system where the variety registration was left to the discretion of the developer. The new bill, on the contrary, is similar to what is followed in Europe where there are defined parameters and procedures for the release of new varieties.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Agriculture policy: Strengthening agri-food value chains for farmer welfare

Dec 05, 2019

Development of robust agri-food value chains (FVC) are extremely important in India to capitalise on the gains made in production in recent years. It is the key to ensuring that our small and marginal farmers also partake in the spin-off benefits from the country transitioning from a subsistence ship-to-mouth importer of food, to one that is self-sufficient and output-surplus. This has also led to a paradigm shift, from a production-centric to an income-centric agri-system approach, a thinking that is reflected in the national commitment of Doubling Farmers Income by 2022.
 
Central to the new approach is the focus on post-harvest management and introduction of progressive agri-market reforms. The primary requirement here is to have demand-driven production of agricultural produce, rather than production-propelled marketing. This would entail developing more farm-level storage and primary processing facilities, aggregation hubs, and marketing and cold chain infrastructure for produce. These will further be linked to electronic negotiable warehouse receipts, enabling farmers to access bank credit through pledge finance and not resort to distress sale of produce. The government is also working on upgrading 22,000 rural haats into Gramin Agricultural Markets and connecting them to the pan-India e-NAM electronic trading portal, just as the 585 larger APMC (agricultural produce market committee) mandis already connected to this platform.
    
Source: Indian Express



India traded $113.47 Bn with BRICS countries in 2017: Commerce Min Piyush Goyal

Dec 05, 2019

The Minister of Commerce and Industry, Piyush Goyal, said yesterday that Engagement in BRICS Summits provides a platform for discussions and exchange of views on issues of mutual interest. These interactions help develop congruence on various issues and could lead to closer cooperation and strengthening of trade and investment ties between BRICS nations. Through sustained engagement, cooperation amongst BRICS partners in the areas of trade and investment over these years has strengthened.
 
The New Development Bank has been established with the purpose of mobilizing resources for infrastructure and sustainable development projects in BRICS and other developing countries.
 
At this year’s Trade Ministers Meeting, a Memorandum of Understanding among BRICS Trade and Investment Promotion Agencies/Trade Promotion Organizations was signed. This provides a framework for forging collaboration between Trade and Investment Promotion agencies for facilitating greater trade amongst the BRICS member countries.
 
The BRICS Joint Trade Study Review helps in fostering greater mutual knowledge, economic cooperation as well as trade and investment opportunities among BRICS countries.
 
Prime Minister Narendra Modi led the Indian delegation to the 11th BRICS Summit that was held on 14 November in Brasilia under the theme ‘Economic Growth for an Innovative Future.’
 
BRICS countries in 2018 agreed upon a non-binding and voluntary Working Mechanism on Technical Regulations, Standards, Metrology and Conformity Assessment Procedures for identifying, preventing and eliminating technical barriers to trade with a view to facilitating trade and increasing mutual trade flows.
    
Source: Indusdictum.com



Tripartite deal to promote and boost the Indian community's business activities

Dec 05, 2019

Nearly 25,000 Indian business owners and trade associations nationwide got a shot in the arm, following the signing of a tripartite deal.
 
The members of the Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Malaysia (Ficcim), as well as the Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KLSICCI), have forged a collaboration with the Asian-African Chamber of Commerce and Industry (AACCI).
 
KLSICCI honorary secretary-general Nivas Ragavan said the deal entailed access and liaison with some one million business and trade entities across the Indian Ocean, largely to the Indian sub-continent and the African continent.
 
Nivas added that the deal augured well to promote and boost the Malaysian Indian community’s varied business needs and activities.
 
We are ever cognisant of and proactive regarding the nation’s fast-paced economic development, hence function as an all-important government-private sector link.
 
KLSICCI strives for the equitable implementation of Malaysia’s economic, trade and fiscal policies and apportionments while playing the increasingly needful role of being an ever-vigilant mouthpiece for the trade and commerce needs of our Malaysian Indian business community, he said after a business collaboration signing ceremony at KLSICCI’s premises in Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman.
 
The ceremony was officiated by Ficcim vice-president Suresh Kumar Gorasia, AACCI southern India secretariat chairman K. Kumaran and Nivas.
 
Nivas added that KLSICCI’s stellar role and dynamic performance in furthering trade and commerce activities had gained credible recognition from the government, the trade and commerce sectors and bona-fide entrepreneurs.
 
We have also enabled win-win business collaboration and smart partnerships with a view to fostering mutually benefiting business joint-ventures, both on the local front and in the international business arena, he said.
 
On AACCI, Nivas said it comprised various professionals of high repute from the entire Asian and African region with a view to giving their business community a voice and a tool to foster development and realise the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals 2030.
 
To translate that vision into reality, AACCI is set to create transnational corporations, which would have presence in all associated member countries and whose capital would be built by nationals of all 102 prospective member countries.
    
Source: nst.com



India-Sweden Join Hands To Convert Stubble Into Green Coal

Dec 05, 2019

Indian meteorologists have been repeatedly arguing that the average maximum temperature in Delhi during winters has declined notably since 1998 due to rising air pollution. Delhi is among the most polluted cities in the world and, according to several estimates and researches, air pollution results even in deaths. This year, peak levels of fine particulate matter (PM) in Delhi increased manifold, primarily due to high vehicular and industrial emissions, construction work and burning of crops in adjoining states.
 
Delhi has the highest level of the airborne particulate matter Rs PM2.5 is considered the most harmful to health, measuring just 153 micrograms. Rising air pollution level has significantly increased lung-related ailments (especially asthma and lung cancer) among Delhi’s children and women. 
 
The dense smog (a kind of air pollution, originally named for the mixture of smoke and fog in the air) in Delhi during winter season also results in major air and rail traffic disruptions every year.
    
Source: india times



Govt orders probe into 'unknown' imports, revenue dept to provide details

Dec 05, 2019

In a bid to reduce the trade deficit, the government is now taking a closer look into the vast segments of India’s imports that have not yet been properly categorised and remain immune to restrictions.
 
Thousands of import categories are labeled simply others in the official trade classification handbook. Many of these bring in goods worth Rs 100 crore or more. But, little data is available on what these are, said sources in the government.
 
The issue has become important as the commerce department examines if Chinese goods are being routed to Indian markets through other nations.
 
To find out what goods are exported under these categories, the commerce department has asked the revenue department to provide details of inbound shipments. The Central Board of Indirect Taxes and Customs, which is under the revenue department, maintains databases on merchandise trade through India’s international ports.
    
Source: Business Standard



Commerce ministry examines spike in imports from Singapore: Report

Dec 05, 2019

The commerce ministry is looking into the unusual 118 percent surge in India's merchandise imports from Singapore in 2018-19 to $16.3 billion, Financial Express reports.
 
The scrutiny of the inflows comes amid fears that Chinese goods are being diverted through Singapore due to duty concessions offered under a free-trade agreement (FTA).
 
The scrutiny of any potential violation of the rules of origin (of the imported products) is being tightened, a source told the newspaper.
    
Source: Money Control



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