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India, Mauritius conclude second round of talks for FTA

Apr 20, 2018

India and Mauritius today concluded the second round of negotiations for the proposed free trade agreement (FTA), aimed at boosting bilateral trade and investments. 
 
 
The three-day talks for Comprehensive Economic Cooperation and Partnership Agreement (CECPA) started here on Tuesday, a government official said. 
 
During the deliberations, trade in goods, services besides economic cooperation were discussed. 
 
In an FTA, two trading partners cut or eliminate duties on majority of goods besides liberalising norms to promote services trade and boost investments. 
 
According to experts, India may not get huge benefit in goods sector as Mauritius is a small market, but services sectors such as IT and tourism hold huge potential to enhance economic ties. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Indian fruit exporters eye Central Asia: APEDA Chairman

Apr 20, 2018

Indian tropical fruit exporters are increasingly looking for exploring the untapped international markets of the Central Asian region, especially Kazakhstan, said APEDA Chairman D.K. Singh.
 
The region remains covered under snow for almost six months of the year. They have (sub-tropical) pomegranate and grapes. Our embassy in Kazakhstan has informed us that tropical fruits are in much demand there. So we are going to promote Indian varieties of mango, pineapple and banana, D.K. Singh said in an interview.
 
The move will open up the markets in the surrounding countries since Kazakhstan acts as distribution centre in the region, he added.
 
Kazakhstan is a part of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), a regional grouping of former Soviet republics, including Russia. The other CIS countries are Azerbaijan, Armenia, Belarus, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Ukraine.
 
While Mango varieties from across the country would would be chosen for the exports, pineapples would be preferred from Sikkim.
 
We can easily air-transport banana to (Kazakhstan capital) Almaty in just three hours, Singh said. (Last year, APEDA managed to send 250 tonnes of bananas from Kochi to Dubai through ships despite the low shelf-life of the fruit.)
 
According to APEDA data, global exports of fruits fell to 455,805 tonnes during April-January 2017-18 from 581,718 tonnes in the corresponding period in 2016-17.
 
Similarly, vegetable exports in the same period fell to 1,882,035 tonnes from 2,871,370 tonnes in 2016-17.
 
    
Source: SME Times



Higher arrivals pull onion prices down to new low

Apr 20, 2018

With onion prices at their lowest level in calendar year 2018, exporters said the Centre should bring back incentives to ship out more bulbs, to help stabilise prices and provide better returns to farmers. As the harvest of the rabi onion crop gains pace across the key producing regions of Maharashtra and Karnataka, prices have declined drastically, leaving growers in tears.
 
At Lasalgaon, the largest onion market in the country, prices have crashed by over 80 per cent since early January to their lowest level for the year. At the retail end, onions are being sold at Rs.10-15 per kg across cities.
 
Harvested now, the rabi crop, which accounts for 65 per cent of the country’s onion output of around 21 million tonnes, is stored and supplied till the kharif crop is harvested in October. “The crop has been good in all producing regions and that’s influencing prices, said Jaidutt Holkar, Chairman of the Lasalgaon APMC. He expects prices to stay at these levels for several weeks. Nodal co-operative agency NAFED is expected to begin buying 25,000 tonnes in Lasalgaon this week.
 
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Farmers’ conclave demands MSP for all products, elimination of middlemen

Apr 20, 2018

Over 2,000 members of the farming community come together for a common cause, not just to discuss their problems and but also to demand MSP for all farm products.
 
The meeting was organised under the banner of Kerala Farmers Federation (KeFF) on Wednesday at Kochi to highlight various demands including fixing MSP for all farm produces or sustainable pricing of the commodities.
 
The meeting raised its concern over the government remaining a mute spectator as several issues affect farmers, particularly exploitation by middlemen. There was a time when farmers could directly sell their produce and earn a decent income.
 
Besides financial crisis, farmers are facing several other problems including eviction from their farm land and issues connected with land lease rights.
 
It also came out with a declaration of rights of farmers, demanding the government to reconsider its decision to impose 50 per cent tax on agriculture income when the corporate sector is paying 30 per cent tax.
 
The government should also initiate steps to procure rubber at ?200/kg and impose restrictions on imports as well as cup lumps and rubber compound waste.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Indian agri-exports stand to gain from US-China trade war

Apr 20, 2018

Following the war of words, the US-China trade war has only intensified with Beijing slapping import duties on 128 items imported from Washington in the first week of April. The hike was in retaliation to the Trump administration’s move last month to raise tariffs on steel by 25 per cent and aluminium by 10 per cent. Currently, the world’s biggest economies trade in goods of over $600 billion annually, with China enjoying a trade surplus of $350 billion. 
 
This is something that President Trump had vowed to correct before his election in 2016. But just as he is about to unfold his plans, the Chinese have begun a spectacular counter offensive. The US President is now preparing a new tariff list that will be released this week targeting technology goods from China. Why technology goods? The US president is focusing on technology goods, because during his election campaign, he had vowed to penalise technology imports from China for its failure to stop patent infringement.
 
The trade war has been simmering for several months and the US is taking all precautions to ensure that its tariffs are not inadmissible under the World Trade Organisation (WTO). On the other hand, China is now throwing caution to the winds and attacking America where it hurts the most – namely farm exports. Does this open up a window of opportunity for Indian agricultural exports? Yes it does.
 
Pork, nuts, apples and wine have been targeted
Currently as things stand, 90 of the 128 US items, that will now attract increased tariffs while entering China, are farm products. They include fruits from apples to guava, cherries to berries and even mango and pears. They have nuts of all types from dried coconuts to shelled cashews, walnuts, to dried figs. Then there is sparkling wine, wine brewed with fresh grapes and grape juice. All these items have attracted 15 per cent additional duty.
    
Source: DNA India



India’s first consignment of Alphanso to US begins journey

Apr 20, 2018

The first consignment of Alphanso mangoes from the country has left for the US market from Vashi in Mumbai after getting approvals from American quarantine officials. The first consignment of 16 tonnes has been done through KB Exports, Rambo International and Kaushal Continental. Sunil Pawar, MD, Maharashtra State Agriculture Marketing Board (MSAMB) said around 1,500 tonnes are likely to be exported to the US, 4,000 tonnes to Europe, 20,000 tonnes to UAE and 12,000 tonnes to other nations. This means a total of 37,500 tonnes will be exported from Maharashtra this season, he said. Last year, some 32,500 tonnes were exported from Maharashtra, he said, adding that there is a 15% rise in exports this season.
 
So far, around 40 tonnes have been exported from the Vashi centre to Russia, England, Italy and France. Primarily Alphanso, Kesar, Bangnapalli variety of mangoes are being exported to overseas countries. With a good mango crop expected this season, alphanso exports from Maharashtra are expected to increase by 15% this year, top officials of MSAMB had said. During the start of the season, the first consignment of some 12,000 kg of alphansoes had left for Italian shores.
 
South Africa is another new market that is being explored and a delegation was in India last month to explore possible opportunities. Exports to this new market are likely to commence from next season, they said. This year, total production is expected to touch some 4 lakh tonnes. Export to the US has begun and is expected to commence soon to Australia.Japan and Korea are other markets where Indian alphansoes are popular.
 
MSAMB officials who handle mango export said all facilities have been readied for export. Australia and South Korea are some of the new markets that have opened up to Indian mangoes. India could not export mangoes to Australia until now due to tough phyto-sanitary conditions that require irradiation treatment and inspection prior to the shipment.
    
Source: Financial Express



India's growth rate highest among BRICS nations: Report

Apr 20, 2018

India has been recording the highest growth rate amongst the Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (BRICS) economies, a KPMG report said here on Thursday. 
 
According to the report titled India Soars Higher, in spite of some reformative steps that slowed the growth momentum in the first quarter of FY18, the economy is likely to grow at 7.4 per cent in 2018 -- higher than the advanced economies and the world -- which are at 2 per cent and 3 per cent respectively. 
 
The report highlighted that India's economic stability is further reinforced with its approximately $420 billion (as on February 9, 2018) foreign exchange reserves which provides sufficient cover for almost 11 months of imports for India. 
 
The report -- launched by Law and Justice and Electronics and IT Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad at the 12th edition of Mindmine Summit 2018 -- provided insights into the rapidly changing business outlook for India and analysed the progress achieved under several national priority programmes. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



India’s reforms bearing fruits, make case for more steps: IMF

Apr 20, 2018

The reforms carried out by India has been bearing fruits and benefiting people, making a strong case for more steps, a top IMF official has said. The implementation of the goods and services tax (GST), despite a bumpy road, is going to help secure the solidity of foundation of public finances, David Lipton, the International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton, told PTI.
 
The recent steps taken to deal with the accumulated problems in banks are important ones, Lipton said, as he identified digital ID technology and other structural reforms important moves towards inclusive growth and making India an economic powerhouse.
 
There’s certainly more to be done but India is certainly seeing benefits from what it has done, he said on the sidelines of the Spring meeting of the IMF and the World Bank.
 
India’s reforms have been bearing fruits and we see that in growth performance. (India’s) growth last year was 6.7 per cent. We’re now projecting 7.4 this fiscal year and 7.8 the following (year). That’s a very healthy acceleration and it really means for a country that is huge, adds up to an awful lot of economic activity.
 
India’s goal is to have sustained growth and to have a growth that boosts the living standards very broadly across the population. The reforms that have been carried out so far have had benefits and make a very good case for carrying forward with further reforms, Lipton said.
 
A country of India’s size has to be very careful to keep public finances under control because any interruption of economic activity that comes from fiscal difficulties would be a setback, he said.
 
Strengthening the foundation of fiscal finances with the GST is one reform that stands out, Lipton said.
    
Source: Financial Express



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