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Trade talks can’t overtake national interest: Piyush Goyal

Jun 27, 2019

India said the withdrawal of exports incentives by the US is in a way a recognition of the country's growing economic strength, but it is a unilateral move not in line with norms laid down by World Trade Organization. 
 
Union Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday said the US took a unilateral position in rolling back export incentives from India and that the government would not allow trade negotiations to overtake issues of national interest. 
 
I would like to state that US has taken a unilateral position. We believe that it is not exactly as per the norms of WTO and GATT, which have been mutually agreed and are multilateral trade agreements, he said in Lok Sabha. Goyal's statement assumes significance as it comes in at a time when US secretary of state Mike Pompeo is currently in New Delhi. 
 
India exported goods worth $6.3 billion to the US in 2018 under the Generalised System of Preferences (GSP) programme which it terminated from June 5.
 
One thing is very clear. This government will never ever compromise on national security and national sovereignty and at no point of time will trade negotiations be allowed to overtake what is in the national interest and the interest of the people of India, he said, adding that he had no information that the US was considering the withdrawal since 2016. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



PM Modi arrives in Japan for G20 Summit

Jun 27, 2019

 Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Thursday arrived here in Japan for the G20 Summit during which he will attend important plurilateral meetings and meet with the world leaders including US President Donald Trump. This will be Prime Minister Modi's sixth G20 Summit which is being held at Osaka on June 28-29. 
 
In his departure statement, he said that issues such as women empowerment, artificial intelligence and common efforts to address challenges like terrorism will be high on his agenda. 
    
Source: Times of india



RBI panel proposes Rs 10,000 crore govt fund to develop MSMEs

Jun 27, 2019

A panel constituted by the Reserve Bank of India (RBI) to suggest measures to develop micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) has proposed a Rs 10,000-crore government fund. The idea is that this will support venture capital and private equity funds investing in the MSME sector. The panel has also recommended a Rs 5,000-crore distress asset fund to assist in clusters where several small businesses are affected because of external factors, such as a change in environmental laws. 
 
The committee has recommended a comprehensive and holistic MSME code in place of the MSMED Act, 2006, replacing present territorial jurisdiction and arbitrary inspection with policy-based monitoring systems with a sunset clause. An expert committee on the MSME sector — set up in January under the chairmanship of former Sebi chairman U K Sinha — submitted its report to RBI governor Shaktikanta Das earlier this month. The central bank released the report on its website on Tuesday. 
 
According to the committee, introduction of GST has made it easier to identify companies based on turnover and this should be the criteria for determining MSMEs rather than employment, which is difficult to implement. Given the role of state governments, the panel wants SIDBI to engage with them. The collaboration of state governments is also seen as crucial in helping MSMEs move up. 
 
The report said that the other areas where SIDBI can contribute is developing and deploying additional instruments for debt and equity, which help crystallise new sources of funding for MSMEs and MSME lenders, such as first-loss guarantees, passthrough certificates (PTCs). It added that for this, it needs partnership arrangements and may, if required, raise funds directly from the market based on its AAA rating. 
 
To help small businesses recover their dues from large corporates, the panel has recommended creating an information utility to collect details of invoices. Based on this information, the designated authority will write to corporates, asking them to clear bills. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



UAE seeking Indian investments in food processing & logistics sectors

Jun 27, 2019

The UAE (United Arab Emirates) is looking at India for investment in food processing, logistics and infrastructure. This was stated by Jamal Al Jarwan, secretary general, ministry of economy, UAE, who met Himachal Pradesh chief minister Jai Ram Thakur in Dubai recently.
 
Appreciating the fact that the two countries were conducting trade worth $60 billion, Al Jarwan stated that the UAE government was endeavouring to make it $100 billion.
 
He added that the government of the UAE was investing in infrastructure and explained about the surplus sovereign funds of the country and how it was looking at possible investment opportunities.
 
Al Jarwan explained about various investments in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and also confirmed that the UAE would participate in the Global Investors’ Meet, being held in Dharamshala.
 
Yet another MoU (Memorandum of Understanding) was signed between the state government and Ahmed Bin Sulayem, executive chairman and chief executive officer, IMEA-TIFF, and executive chairman and chief executive officer, DMCC, to strengthen and expand existing capacities in agriculture and food sector. Mutual cooperation, bilateral delegations, bilateral trade and investments are some of the activities that would be part of the MoU.
 
Thakur apprised Al Jarwan regarding immense investment potential available in the state in various sectors like food processing, logistics, tourism, power, etc.
 
The chief minister also met Mohammed Al Muallem, chief executive officer, JAFZA and DP World.
 
Muallem said that his group was seriously looking forward to invest in Himachal Pradesh, particularly in the areas of logistics and transportation, besides export and import of agriculture and horticulture produce.
 
    
Source: Fnb News



Govt promises seed traceability software by next June

Jun 27, 2019

Identifying seeds as a key factor in ensuring sustainability for farmers, the Union Government is developing a software to let the farmers trace the origin of the seeds they buy. Using technologies such as barcode and QR code, the software solution will allow the farmers to cross-check whether they are buying the seed that intend to.
 
We are going to introduce it by June 2020. It goes a long way in ensuring quality of seeds, Sanjay Agarwal, Union Agriculture Secretary, said.
 
Addressing the inaugural session of the 32nd ISTA (International Seed Testing Association) Congress 2019 here on Wednesday, he said the country could achieve productivity levels and production of seeds above what was needed.
 
But quality of seeds is the key to ensure better incomes and sustainability to farmers, he added.
 
Representatives from over 70 countries are attending the conference, which is being organised by the Agriculture Departments of the State and Central governments.
 
Union Minister of State for Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare Kailash Choudhary said quality seeds were at the centre of agriculture, which provided livelihood to 60 per cent of the country’s population. We have over 16 State-level seed corporations and 26 seed certification agencies in 26 States, he said.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



G20 nations imposed 20 new trade-restrictive measures in last 8 months: WTO

Jun 27, 2019

The G20 countries have imposed as many as 20 new trade-restrictive measures such as high customs duties and import bans between October 2018 and May this year, according to a WTO report. 
 
G20 members include Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Japan, Russia, the UK, the US, among others. 
 
 
In terms of numbers, G20 economies implemented 20 new trade-restrictive measures between mid-October 2018 and mid-May 2019, including tariff increases, import bans and new customs procedures for exports, the report said. 
 
WTO's 21st Monitoring Report on trade measures of the bloc was issued on June 24 and comes days ahead of the G20 summit in Japan. 
 
These measures impact both exports and imports of the member countries including India. 
 
Commenting on the report, WTO Director-General Roberto Azevêdo said these findings should be of "serious concern" for the whole international community. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Government to give status of farmers to landless beekeepers

Jun 27, 2019

Government is considering giving status of farmers to landless beekeepers while recognizing honeybees as inputs to agriculture and diversifying the basket of beekeeping products as it aims to double farmers’ income by 2022. 
 
Bibek Debroy-led beekeeping development committee under the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister had proposed over half-a-dozen recommendations to the PM to enhance the contribution of the sector in achieving the 2022 target of doubling farmer incomes. 
 
The committee was set up to identify ways of advancing beekeeping in India that can help in improving agricultural productivity, enhancing employment generation, augmenting nutritional security and sustaining biodiversity. It has submitted the report to the PM. 
 
As per the committee report, government should recognizing honeybees as inputs to agriculture and considering landless beekeepers as farmers besides ensuring the plantation of bee friendly flora at appropriate places. 
 
The committee has suggested that the government institutionalizing the National Bee Board and rechristening it as the Honey and Pollinators Board of India under the Ministry of Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare. 
 
Such a body would engage in advancing beekeeping through multiple mechanisms such as setting up of new integrated bee development centres, strengthening the existing ones, creating a honey price stabilization fund and collection of data on important aspects of apiculture, the committee has suggested.
 
According to the committee report, there is a need to simplifying procedures and specify clear standards for ease of exporting honey and other bee products. 
 
 
As per Food and Agricultural Organization database, Indian ranked eighth in 2017-18 in the world in terms of honey production at 64.9 thousand tonnes while China stood first with a production level of 551 thousand tonnes. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Govt removes restrictions on import of pea seeds

Jun 27, 2019

The government has removed restrictions on imports of pea seeds, a move which may help reduce prices and increase availability of the commodity in the domestic market. 
 
 
The imports, however, are subject to certain conditions, the directorate general of foreign trade (DGFT) has said in a notification. 
 
While the imports were allowed with a licence earlier, an importer would not require a licence from the government now. 
 
Import policy of seeds of peas is amended from restricted to free category, it said. 
 
The imports of pea seeds has marginally declined to USD 1.59 million in 2018-19 from USD 1.89 million in 2017-18. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



North America top turmeric importer

Jun 27, 2019

India’s turmeric exports touched $236 million (around Rs.1,632 crore) in 2018 and North America has emerged as the largest market for the commodity, according to the Trade Promotion Council of India (TPCI). We are the global leaders in turmeric and North America is the largest regional market for the product, while Europe is the fastest growing market, TPCI Chairman Mohit Singla said in a statement Wednesday.

    
Source: The Hindu Business line



View: How to make exports boom

Jun 27, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has made exports a high priority. Indeed, India would do well if it gave them the highest priority and pursued their success in mission mode. No nation has sustained growth rates of 9-10% for two or more decades without succeeding in global markets. China’s share in global merchandise exports rose from 2% in 1991 to 12.4% in 2012. These two decades saw China fully transform from a primarily agrarian to a modern industrial economy. 
 
Today, India’s share in global merchandise exports remains low at 1.7%. In 2000, when China’s GDP was no more than India’s today, it already accounted for 4% of global merchandise exports. Sustaining high growth and creating good jobs will require a strategy centred on building an exportfriendly ecosystem in the country. 
 
The starting point for this strategy is shedding three of our current obsessions: import substitution, micro and small enterprises, and a strong rupee. Import substitution has never produced sustained rapid growth anywhere. On their own, micro and small enterprises can provide low productivity, subsistence wage employment to the multitude but they cannot be the source of high productivity, wellpaid jobs without successful medium and large enterprises around them. 
 
A strong rupee keeps imports artificially cheap for our citizens and our exports artificially expensive for foreigners. The resulting trade deficit then tempts policy makers to slap tariffs on imports. 
 
The first step in building a tradefriendly ecosystem has to be a realistic exchange rate. We reaped the benefits of this approach in the 2000s. By letting the rupee depreciate steadily from Rs 17.1 per dollar in 1990-91 to Rs 47.7 per dollar by 2001-02, we created a highly competitive environment for producers of our exportable goods as well as those competing against imports, which were being liberalised alongside. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



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