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WTO Buenos Aires meeting: India insists on permanent solution to food security issue

Dec 12, 2017

India, at the head of a large bloc of developing nations, insisted that a gathering of the world’s trade ministers that opened in Buenos Aires on Sunday find a permanent solution on public stockholding for food security but showed flexibility on a work programme for services.
 
In the coming days, trade minister Suresh Prabhu, who is leading a multi-ministry delegation to the 11th ministerial conference of the World Trade Organization (MC11), will also focus on protecting the interests of India’s artisanal fishermen from a proposal to eliminate fisheries subsidies. India is also likely to resist any attempt by developed countries to push for negotiations on setting global rules on e-commerce, holding that domestic rules on the matter are in a flux. The meeting in the Argentinian capital follows two other ministerials where India played hardball on the matter of public procurement for subsidized food distribution programme—India’s is the largest in the world—against developed countries that want penalties for countries that exceed a ceiling.
    
Source: Live Mint



Suresh Prabhu urges WTO members to desist from dividing nations further

Dec 12, 2017

Amid efforts by many countries to take away special provisions enjoyed by large developing economies like India and China at the World Trade Organization, New Delhi on Monday called on the multilateral trade body to desist from dividing nations further. 
 
Commerce and industry minister Suresh Prabhu told the 164 WTO members to re-endorse the centrality of development in negotiations without creating new sub-categories of countries. 
 
His statement comes amid efforts by the EU and the US, and more recently least developed countries (LDC), to limit concessions to large emerging nations. A group of more than 70 LDCs and developing countries recently proposed separate special and differential treatments for the two categories of countries. 
 
 
In his plenary address on the second day of the eleventh ministerial conference (MC 11) of the organisation here, Prabhu emphasised on the need to collectively strive to preserve and revitalise the WTO at a time when the global trade environment is extremely fragile 
 
The rising tide of protectionism, along with the US' non-engagement in many multilateral trade issues and blocking appointment of judges in the appellate body of the organisation, has stalled the dispute resolution process in the WTO at the appeal level. Expressing concern at delays in appointment of new members to the appellate body, Prabhu said: We need to collectively and expeditiously resolve this impasse.
 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



India proposed $1 billion credit for connectivity with ASEAN: Nitin Gadkari

Dec 12, 2017

India has proposed USD 1 billion line of credit to promote sea, air and road connectivity projects with ASEAN, Union Minister Nitin Gadkari said today. 
 
Apart from this, India has set up a project development fund of USD 77 million to develop manufacturing hubs in Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam, he said. 
 
 
The ASEAN India maritime transport cooperation agreement is being negotiated...An Asian India civil aviation task force has been established to see optimisation of air connectivity. 
 
India has proposed to commit a line of credit of USD 1 billion to promote projects that support physical and digital connectivity, Gadkari said. 
 
He was addressing the ASEAN-India Connectivity Summit jointly organised by CII and ASEAN India Centre. 
 
The minister said ASEAN and India have also agreed to establish a maritime transport working group among India, Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia and Vietnam to examine the feasibility of shipping networks. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



President Kovind meets China, Russia foreign ministers

Dec 12, 2017

Chinese and Russian foreign ministers, who are here to attend a summit, today called on President Ram Nath Kovind and held discussions pertaining to bilateral relations.
 
President
 
Kovind congratulated Chinese foreign minister Wang Yi on the successful conclusion of the 19th Congress of the Communist Party of China.
 
He added that India looked forward to working with President Xi Jinping and the Chinese leadership to take the developmental partnership to greater heights.
 
We view India-China ties as important in our foreign policy. Our high-level exchanges and interactions have maintained momentum. Our economic engagement is growing. We are also seeing cooperation on many international issues, Kovind said according to an official statement.
 
The president said that expansion of cooperation bilaterally as well as regionally was in the mutual interest of both the nations.
 
He expressed confidence that multifaceted relations between India and China will continue to make progress and acquire even greater salience.
 
During his meeting with foreign minister of Russia, Sergei Lavrov, and his delegation, the president said that India-Russia bilateral ties were strong and had further intensified this year.
 
He expressed happiness that bilateral trade between India and Russia registered a growth of 22 per cent in the first six months of 2017.
 
Early operationalisation of the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) can play a significant role in achieving our bilateral trade targets, he said.
 
The corridor, expected to be completed by January next year, will facilitate movement of freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia.
 
The President said that institutionalisation of the India-Russia Heads of Think Tanks Forum, which held its 2nd session in Delhi on December 4-5, would be most helpful to both countries.
 
We should continue with our efforts to bring our think tanks and academic communities closer, he said.
    
Source: Pti News



Russia, India and China: The triangle that matters

Dec 12, 2017

The 15th Russia-India-China (RIC) trilateral dialogue at foreign ministers level in New Delhi on December 11 provides an occasion to make a general evaluation of the dynamics at play in this trilateral relationship that is marked by stable India-Russia ties, increased India-China tensions and an upsurge in Russia-China relations.  
 
Russia dominated the trilateral talks when they began in September 2003, with Sergey Lavrov imposing his masterly grasp of international issues over the triad when he became foreign minister in 2004. 
 
However, with the phenomenal rise of China in recent years, the vast financial resources at its disposal and the unveiling of its geopolitical ambitions across Eurasia, the internal equations within the group have changed. 
    
Source: Daily mail



Indian economy to grow at 7.2% in 2018, says UN report

Dec 12, 2017

 The Indian economy will grow at 7.2% in 2018 and accelerate to 7.4% in the following year as a result of robust private consumption, public investment and structural reforms, but it still faces the risk of sudden capital withdrawal on account of monetary policy normalization in developed countries, a United Nations report said.
 
Despite the slowdown observed in early 2017 and the lingering effects from the demonetisation policy, the outlook for India remains largely positive, underpinned by robust private consumption and public investment as well as ongoing structural reforms, the United Nations World Economic Situation and Prospects 2018 report released on Monday said. At the global level, growth is expected to remain steady at 3% in 2018 and 2019, it said.
 
The report also forecast that inflation in India will be 4.5% in 2018 and 4.8% in 2019, slightly above the Reserve Bank of India’s (RBI) medium-term consumer price index-based (CPI-based) inflation target of 4%. The central bank had in its 6 December monetary policy review had raised its fiscal second-half inflation estimate range marginally to 4.3-4.7%.
 
Subdued inflation, coupled with a good monsoon season, offers scope for additional monetary easing. However, if inflation accelerates faster than anticipated, the loosening cycle could end abruptly, said the report.
 
In the latest review, RBI left its repurchase rate—the rate at which it infuses liquidity in the banking system—unchanged at 6%. The UN report listed sluggish private investment as a key macroeconomic concern for India.
    
Source: Live Mint



Harrisons Malayalam to launch value-added products soon

Dec 12, 2017

Faced with rising wages, shrinking labour force and low prices, plantation major Harrisons MalayalamBSE 0.16 % (HML) has initiated a brand revamp exercise focusing on value-added products to boost sales. The country’s largest rubber producer and a leading tea grower in South India plans to use its 160-yearold tradition to launch an umbrella brand Harrisons Heritage for its specialty products, the majority of which will be in tea. 
 
 
While conventional tea is growing at 3% per annum globally, specialty teas are moving at double the rate. Moreover, there is increasing demand for teas from estates certified for sustainability and traceability, said N Dharmaraj, HML CEO, SBU (A). The specialty teas will include white tea (made from tea buds), green tea, organic tea, hybrid tea (a mix of orthodox and CTC varieties, patented by the company) and frost tea (made from tea leaves at the time of frost). The company is jointly working with Kerala AyurvedaBSE -3.65 % to introduce ayurvedic tea as well. Apart from a clutch of national and international certification, HML is applying for elephant-friendly certification with a US agency as elephants are often sighted in some of its tea estates. 
 
The products will hit the market next year. We are going for online marketing too and has registered with Amazon,Dharmaraj said. In rubber, the company has developed de-proteinised natural rubber (DPNRL), centrifuged latexBSE -4.95 % free of carcinogenic nitrosamine and a water-based adhesive. 
 
HML is scaling up its mechanisation efforts and boughtleaf operations to expand its output by overcoming the possible labour shortage in the tea estates. The latest machines developed in collaboration with IIT Chennai can give three times the output generated by normal shears, said Anil George Joseph, senior VP, tea. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Government must accord top priority to agriculture in Budget 2018: Assocham

Dec 12, 2017

The government needs to accord top priority to agriculture in the budget as a major shortfall in kharif production resulted in sluggish growth of farm sector in the second quarter this fiscal, Assocham said today. 
 
While the year-to-year agriculture GVA (Gross Value Addition) growth for the July-September quarter of 2017-18 dropped to 1.7 per cent from 4.1 per cent, measured on basic prices, the fall looks quite sharp at current prices from 10 per cent to 3.7 per cent. 
 
 
It is attributed to a decline in food grains production by 2.8 per cent in second quarter of the current fiscal from a handsome growth of 10.7 per cent in the similar period of 2016-17. 
 
The chamber observed that the shortfall in the second leg of the monsoon seems to have impacted the Kharif production. 
 
Besides, distress in prices of several agri-commodities would have also played a role in lower realisations as seen in the growth deceleration on the current prices, it said. 
 
The chamber Secretary General D S Rawat said since more than half of the GVA in the farm sector is contributed by livestock, fishery and forestry, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley should particularly focus on these segments of the economy along with a major thrust on agriculture infrastructure like irrigation. 
 
    
Source: The Economic Times



Technology to help increase productivity in agri sector

Dec 12, 2017

Technology can help in improving productivity especially in agriculture sector in India.
 
This was concluded in a session on Argo-Economy ICT at Global Partnership Summit being held in the capital from December 11-14.
 
Vijay Sardana, Head Agri Business and Food security initiatives, UPL Group said it is a huge opportunity, but agriculture is a not a software which can be installed everywhere and it's done. It has to be specific to a local area/crop or a town. One cannot generalise as climatic situations are different across different regions.
 
He said for an affordable food security, inputs should be minimum while output should be maximum. His company offers annual maintenance services for farming area where a farmer doesn't need to maintain or buy machinery, all work is outsourced to the firm which lessens their cost and improves productivity.
 
Knowledge has achieved what it was supposed to till now, it is time for ICT and other technologies to be implemented in agriculture sector and move ahead, he said.
 
Teruhide Sato, founder and managing director, Beenext said India is becoming a data rich country given the rapid increase in mobile penetration.
 
It used to be IT (information technology) but now it is Artificial intelligence days which is nothing but DT (data technology).
 
We have invested in about 40 start ups in India for last five years which are focussed on solving local issues especially in agriculture sector, Sato said.
 
Sam Yamdagni, chairman and CEO Y Cube Holdings also talked about huge potential which the Indian market holds for bringing new technologies for increasing the farm yield. One has to implement modern technology for better productivity.
 
Mitsuru Izumo, CEO, Euglena, talked about his venture where its products can help countries in solving malnourishment. It has tied up with Bangladesh's Grameen to offer its products to school children there.
 
Euglena is formed from microalgae, a kind of a seed/plant with animal characteristics. It is a rich source of proteins, vitamins and dietary fibre. It is a great solution for malnutrition programs across many countries and is being developed at customised ponds using new technologies, Izumo said.
    
Source: DNA India



DGFT to hold workshop on Free Trade Agreement in Nagpur

Dec 12, 2017

Eyeing at imparting information among the business community of the region including the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises, the office of the Director General of Foreign Trade (DGFT), under Ministry of Commerce & Industry, will be holding a workshop on free trade agreement in Nagpur.
 
The workshop is scheduled for 12th of December and will take place at Hotel Heritage from 2PM in the afternoon.  The main aim of the workshop is to inform the businesses regarding the various norms of the Foreign Trade Agreements.
 
DGFT further aims to address the problems that the exporters of the region have been facing.
 
The workshop will explore different themes including Free Trade Agreements & MoUs signed by the Government of India, Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) and Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA). Also presentations on tariff duties, anti-dumping measures, FTA negotiations and experience sharing are to feature in the workshop.
 
Officials from the DGFT office including Bipin Menon and Anupam Kumar will facilitate the sessions.
 
Also during the workshop an interactive session to explore the complications of the export sector with regard to trading across borders will be facilitated. 
    
Source: KNN India



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