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West Bengal eyes 75-100 tonnes mango export in 2017

Jun 23, 2017

West Bengal is a leading producer of mangoes but the export of this king of fruits remains negligible due to various infrastructural bottlenecks, Agricultural and Processed Food Products Export Development Authority (APEDA) DGM R K Mondal said here today. There are various infrastructural shortcomings and lack of direct connectivity for export of vegetables and fruits. However, we hope to export 75-100 tonnes of mangoes from Bengal this season, he said. But, a lot will depend on the union agricultural ministry’s early approval of a mango treatment plant at Malda district which has been promoted by the West Bengal government. Bengal government has set up a hot-water treatment in Malda, famous for its yield of quality mango, for the treatment of the fruit for exports. Government facility will help in treating a larger quantity of mango for exports.

If approval comes within this month for the state government treatment facility then export of mango can touch 75-100 metric tonnes, sources said. As of now, the total export of mangoes to Europe and the Middle East is about just 25 tonnes. This year mango export to Europe from India is expected to be 1500-2000 metric tonnes and Netherlands and the UK are the major markets. Bengal has sent a few consignments of mangoes this year to Europe as an alternate market since the ban on exporting Indian mangoes was lifted. Mango export from the state received a setback from Bangladesh which raised import duty on mango in the recent years to 50 per cent or Rs 29 a kg. APEDA is now attempting to promote higher shelf-life variety – Lakhanbhog mango to Dubai via sea-route to make it more competitive.

APEDA is now attempting to promote higher shelf-life variety – Lakhanbhog mango to Dubai via sea-route to make it more competitive. We are planning to send a 10-tonne consignment of Lakhanbhog mango to Dubai from Mumbai port to Dubai through the sea route, Mondal said. Export through Kolkata Port is not possible due to longer travel time to Dubai of 15 days. Himsagar is one of the leading variety of mango for exports.

    
Source: The Financial Express



GST: Will recommend review of trade and industry grievances, says Nirmala Sitharaman

Jun 23, 2017

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman today assured trade and industry that their grievances on GST would be taken up with the government and she would personally recommend having a review three months after its implementation. Responding to queries about fixing the slab for different trades and industries during an interactive session organised by BJP’s Coimbatore district unit here, Sitharaman, who is Minister of State for Commerce and Industry, said there should not be any confusion about GST rates on various products. Industry should come forward to raise their doubts and objections, she added. The Minister said there would be some teething problems during implementation of the system, which was conceptualised by taking the people into confidence and trust and was also passed by various State Assemblies. However, in case if the industries are not 100 per cent satisfied, definitely I will recommend to have a review after three months, as suggested by some organisations, she said.

Assuring that no penalty would be imposed for three months if small and medium entrepreneurs failed to submit GST returns, she said the government was ready to make accessible the system, through chartered accountants and cost accountants Associations of various chambers of commerce at district headquarters.

Later, she clarified that changes in the duty drawback scheme would definitely not affect the export performance since India exports products and not tax. Coir Board Chairman C P Radhakrishnan said that GST would be a boon and the issues raised by industries would be solved one by one in due course. The country can expect judicial reforms and electoral reforms soon on the lines of tax reforms like GST, Radhakrishnan said.

    
Source: The Financial Express



Sushma Swaraj bats for RCEP conclusion to boost trade with ASEAN

Jun 23, 2017

External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj Thursday said that bilateral trade between India-ASEAN has picked up after two years of slow growth even as she batted for concluding the Regional Cooperation Economic Partnership (RCEP) talks.
 
While the ASEAN-India Free Trade Area is fully functional from July 2015, we are also actively engaged in the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership negotiations involving ASEAN and its six FTA partners, which, when finalised, will be the largest regional trading arrangement, accounting for about 40 per cent of the world trade, Swaraj said while addressing ‘ASEAN-India Partnership’ event organised by RIS.
 
These remarks comes in the backdrop of India being accused to dragging its feet in the RCEP talks for not agreeing to grant zero tariffs on 92 per cent of traded goods.
 
The China-led RCEP is being negotiated among the 10 ASEAN members (Malaysia, Singapore, Philippines, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos, Brunei, Thailand and Myanmar), India, China, South Korea, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.
 
She said there had been a growth of 8 per cent in India-ASEAN trade in 2016-17 with Indian shipments to the region has increased by almost 20 per cent.
 
Swaraj also said connectivity with ASEAN remains at the core of India-ASEAN ties.
 
We recognise that the single most important ingredient that can make a qualitative shift in our economic engagement with ASEAN is a major boost towards infrastructure and connectivity, both within India and in the North-East in particular, and with ASEAN, she added.
 
Swaraj said efforts are under way to enhance physical connectivity by land, air and sea.
 
The minister also said enhancing maritime cooperation and security has been an area of focus for both ASEAN and India.
 
The region faces several other forms of trans-national crime, such as terrorism; arms smuggling; human trafficking; sea piracy; money laundering; terror financing & cyber crime. ASEAN and India have consciously striven to step up cooperation on counter-terrorism, cyber security, anti-piracy and other transnational crimes through various forums, she said.
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Centre to procure 50% of Haryana’s sunflower seeds at minimum support price

Jun 23, 2017

The Centre has accepted the Haryana government’s request to procure 50 per cent sunflower seed at minimum support price (MSP) during the current season, the state’s Agriculture Minister O P Dhankar said here today. He said on the request of farmers, the state government had urged the Centre to procure 50 per cent of sunflower seeds so as to protect the interest of sunflower growers. Dhankar said the National Agricultural Cooperative Marketing Federation of India (NAFED), the central nodal agency for procurement of sunflower seed, had agreed to procure up to 50 per cent of its total output at MSP

Earlier, NAFED has procured 25 per cent of sunflower seeds in the state, he told reporters here on the sidelines of the state cabinet meeting. He said the state government had authorised Haryana State Co-operative Supply and Marketing Federation Limited (HAFED) for procurement of sunflower seed at MSP on behalf of NAFED.

    
Source: The Financial Express



Cabinet approves changes in bilateral agreement with Netherlands

Jun 23, 2017

The Union Cabinet on Thursday approved amendment to a bilateral Social Security Agreement (SSA) with Netherlands by incorporating the country of residence principle in the said agreement.
 
The amended SSA between India and the Netherlands, when operational from the third month from the date of notifying the said amendment to the Netherlands by India, will strengthen bilateral ties and continue to favourably impact profitability and competitive position of Indian and Dutch companies with foreign operations in either country by reducing their cost of doing business abroad, an official statement issued here said.
 
The SSA, which has been in successful operation since June 2010 and has benefitted Indian expatriates in Netherlands, will also help promote more investment flows between the two countries, it added.
 
Under the new Social Security (Country of Residence) Act, the amount of benefit or allowance paid to a qualified beneficiary (read as Dutch national) is adjusted to the cost of living of the country where the beneficiary is currently residing.
 
India has signed and operationalised SSAs with 18 countries - Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Sweden, Switzerland and South Korea.
    
Source: SME Time



Food safety authority’s draft amendments include fatty acids composition in edible oil

Jun 23, 2017

In a bid to curb misleading claims and adulteration in edible oils, the Food Safety and Standards Authority (FSSAI) has notified a draft regulation that sets standards for the permissible composition of fatty acids in various types of edible oils.
 
The amendments in the regulation have been introduced at a time when edible oil companies have been increasingly looking at launching blended oil products to woo consumers with various health benefit claims.
 
The food regulator said the draft FSS (Food Product Standards and Food Additives) Amendment Regulation 2017 will pave the way for determination of the authenticity of edible oils by incorporating fatty acid composition in the standards. “Since the fatty acid composition is different for each edible oil, this amendment will go a long way in exposing and curbing two malpractices in the edible oil sector- adulteration of expensive oils with cheaper oils and misleading label claims on the composition of blended oils,” the regulator said in its notification. It is seeking comments from various stakeholders.
 
Ashwin Bhadri, CEO, Equinox Labs, said the new draft speaks about the percentage of fatty acids composition along with the different kinds of fatty acids founds in 20 types of edible oils besides their permissible limits. This regulation will provide clarity to edible oil makers and testing authorities. It will also benefit consumers by bringing in transparency regarding the oil composition that they consume and ensure their safety, he added.
 
Organic food
 
Meanwhile, FSSAI also released a draft notification on organic food that aims to bring in a regulatory framework to ensure safety of such products as well their authentic organic status.
 
According to the draft FSS (Organic Foods) Regulations, any food offered for sale as organic food should comply with the provisions laid down under either the National Programme for Organic Production or the Participatory Guarantee System for India or any other systems notified by the FSSAI.
 
The draft regulation also mandates that such foods should convey accurate information on the organic status of the product and should carry a certificate or quality assurance mark, among other things.
 
 
    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



Modi, Trump to discuss terrorism, economic cooperation

Jun 23, 2017

During his visit to the US, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will discuss issues ranging from terrorism and regional security to economic cooperation with US President Donald Trump, it was announced on Thursday.
 
Modi would meet Trump on June 26 afternoon during which the focus would be on "further pushing and developing economic and commercial cooperation for mutual benefit of the two countries",
External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay told reporters.
 
Baglay added that regional security and terrorism would also be on the agenda.
 
Our concerns regarding terrorism emanating from Pakistan are well known. Terrorism that emanates from there has affected not only India but also many other countries.
 
We do talk to all countries, our friends and partners on how to counter cross-border terrorism and international terrorism, Baglay said.
 
So it is logical to assume that the issues of global and regional security, and terrorism would figure in the discussions among the two leaders.
 
He added that all matters of bilateral interest would be on the table.
 
When the two leaders meet, it is not our practice to constrain the agenda. The leaders have the entire gamut of relationship for them to talk. We can't say which matters would be taken up and which won't be, he added.
 
Baglay said the idea of the bilateral talks would be to give a thrust and direction to the "robust and expanding relationship often described as the defining partnership of the 21st century".
 
Modi is scheduled to leave India on Saturday (June 24) morning. He would first visit Portugal before reaching Washington DC.
 
The Prime Minister would meet the CEOs and senior representatives from the business community on June 25, Baglay said.
 
On (June) 26 forenoon, there would be calls on the Prime Minister by senior officials and dignitaries of the US administration. And in the afternoon, we have the official engagement with President Trump, he added.
 
Asked if the government had prepared differently to deal with Trump, Baglay said the relationship between the two countries was institutional.
 
While it would be the first time Modi would be meeting the US President, the two have already had three useful conversations over telephone, the spokesman said.
 
We have had Foreign Secretary travel to the US earlier. Their National Security Advisor has been here. We are in regular touch with the US government at very senior level preparing for the visit, he said.
 
However, he added that the government was aware that Trump had recently assumed office and hence there were certain areas where the two countries need to understand each other better.
 
Therefore the dialogue is going on and that is the aim of the dialogue.
 
    
Source: SME Time



No penalty for wrong entry in the first two months of GST implementation: Sitharaman

Jun 23, 2017

The Centre on Thursday assured the trade, industry and the public that the roll out of Goods and Services Tax (GST) will do the country good and not the other way round.
 
Addressing a GST sensitisation meeting here, Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister for Commerce and Industry, said that she realised the need for organising GST awareness campaigns after a meeting at Pudukottai in Tamil Nadu about 10 days ago.
 
I put forth the suggestion (on the need to reach out to the people) to the Finance Minister, as also the need to rope in officials to educate the masses about the big transformation that is round the corner. We are here to hear and understand your grievances. The government believes in discussing issues with the various stakeholders, she said appealing to all to gear up for the one nation, 
 
Responding to their plea, Sitharaman said GST is a business-neutral tax, which is aimed at rooting out corruption and ushering in more transparency in the system. And the GST rates were arrived at after discussing with the 18 committees by the GST Council. The Council meets from time to time to discuss various issues put forth by industry.
 
When a representative from the diamond merchants association wanted to know if one could do business with a provisional ID from July 1 as some error had cropped up in the registration process, the Minister said “if an amendment is not possible, I will instruct the Commissioner to correct the technical issue,. Responding to a suggestion for a dry run of GST before the actual roll out, she said that the Chartered Accountants Association, Cost Accountants of India or even the Chamber of Commerce could do a dry run every day to instil confidence amongst the asseessees. All migration related issues can be done on the dry run, as the sensitisation is still not enough, particularly among the small traders.
 
Sitharaman also assured the participants that no penalty will be levied for wrong entry in the first two months of GST implementation, and the government would consider a review of the situation after three months to see if there is a need for course-correction. She did not rule out teething problems after the roll out.

 

    
Source: The Hindu Business Line



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