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Amid trade tensions, US & India say will focus on collaboration

Feb 15, 2019

Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu and US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross on Thursday expressed a resolve to work together to consider recommendations pertaining to several sectors where the two countries can improve collaboration. The development comes amidst rising trade tensions between the two economies over the last year.
 
 
During a telephonic conversation on various aspects of trade and commerce relations, Ross assured to further strengthen ties between the two countries, stated an official release on India-US Commercial Dialogue and India-US CEO Forum.
 
The US Commerce Secretary, who was to be in India for the dialogue, cancelled his flight late on Wednesday, citing inclement weather and logistical issues as well as technical problems.
 
Tata Sons chairman N Chandrasekaran and American Tower Corporation president and CEO James D Taiclet, both chairing the CEO Forum, provided recommendations to improve collaboration on energy, water, environment, information and communication technology, emerging technologies, digital infrastructure, entrepreneurship and inclusive growth, promoting small business, and infrastructure and manufacturing. Ross addressed the CEO Forum by video while US Ambassador to India Kenneth Juster led the delegation on the ground.
    
Source: Indian Express



India's emergence as world's largest, most vibrant democracy is exceptional: Indian envoy

Feb 15, 2019

The emergence of India as the world's largest democracy and perhaps the most vibrant one post the World War-II is indeed exceptional, a top Indian diplomat has said.
 
Part of India's success lies in the historical tradition of people's participation in governance. In that sense, democratic tradition was not completely a foreign one, Deputy Indian Ambassador to the US Santosh Jha told a Washington audience on Wednesday.
 
India's emergence as the world's largest democracy, and perhaps the most vibrant one after the end of the second World War, is indeed exceptional, he said in his keynote address at a day-long seminar 'Delivering Democracy in India'.
 
The event, attended by over 150 prominent representatives from American media, academic institutions, US agencies and think tanks, was organised by the Embassy of India in collaboration with Indian Council for Cultural Relations and prestigious Hudson Institute think-tank.
    
Source: Business Standard



Growth likely to reach 7.5 per cent next fiscal: Chief Economic Adviser

Feb 15, 2019

The economic growth is likely to accelerate to 7.5 per cent in 2019-20, from 7.2 per cent projected for the current fiscal, Chief Economic Adviser K V Subramanian has said. 
 
We have done the projections. All the external agencies and internally our estimates are also 7.5 per cent (2019-20). The nominal rate we are expecting is 11.5 per cent and inflation of about 4 per cent," he told PTI. 
 
 
The Reserve Bank of India, in its latest monetary policy review released last week, too projected an economic growth rate of 7.4 per cent for the next fiscal. 
 
Talking about average growth in the last four years, he said the GDP growth rate has been 7.3 per cent, highest across all government since liberalisation. This growth rate has been achieved amidst very low inflation. 
 
Prior to 2014, the average inflation was in excess of 10 per cent, he said, adding the significant reduction in inflation can be attributed to setting up of Monetary Policy framework that mandates the RBI to keep it within a particular band. 
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



UN keen on procuring more goods, services from India

Feb 15, 2019

 Global intergovernmental organization United Nations, that procured goods and services worth over $18 billion from member countries in 2017, said India has the potential to up its export contribution. In 2017, India exported over goods and services worth $900 million to the 
 
Bruno Maboja, senior procurement officer, United Nations Procurement Division, who was in Hyderabad to interact with industry representatives and brief them about the UN procurement process, pointed out that in many instances, Indian goods are being procured by middlemen from other countries and being supplied to the UN.
 
Exports from India are low, but I can tell you one thing, we actually have a lot of Indian goods that are supplied to the UN but not by companies from India….you have middlemen, who come all the way from Europe and China get the goods and supply them to the UN. So, the only reason why we are here today, is to tell you that you can supply good to us directly for the benefit of the country…, he said while addressing participants at an interactive session on ‘Business Opportunities with Unites Nations’ organised by Ftapcci, state government and the UN. 
 
He said that procuring goods directly from India will also be cheaper for the UN and will ensure a fair deal for the companies here. The UN official, however, was not able to provide the total amount or value of Indian goods being procured by the UN from other countries.
    
Source: Times of india



Nepal-India ties move upward, joint projects gain momentum: PM Oli

Feb 15, 2019

Nepal-India relations saw new heights in the last one year and the execution of joint projects have also gained momentum following high-level bilateral visits, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli said here on Thursday.
 
Addressing the nation on completion of one year of his government, Oli said the visits of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal and his tour to India last year helped the two neighbours to scale up their ties.
 
Modi visited the Himalayan country in May 2018 and inaugurated a direct bus service between Janakpur (the birthplace of Lord Sita) in Nepal and Ayodhya (the birthplace of Lord Ram) as part of a Ramayan Circuit to promote religious tourism in Nepal and India.
 
In August, Modi attended the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu.
 
Oli visited New Delhi in April after taking charge as Nepal's prime minister for the second time in February 2018.
 
The Nepalese premier said the visits further enhanced bilateral cooperation in the fields of agriculture, railways and inland waterways.
 
He said the construction work of Arun III hydro-electric project has already started as part of NepalIndia cooperation in water resources field.
    
Source: Business Standard



Argentina President to visit India from Feb 17 to 19

Feb 15, 2019

Argentina's President Mauricio Macri will be paying a state visit to India from February 17 to 19, during which he will hold talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Ram Nath Kovind, the Ministry of External Affairs said Thursday.
 
A high-level delegation comprising the Speaker of the Chamber of Deputies Emilio Monzo, Minister of Foreign Affairs Jorge Faurie, Government Secretary of Modernisation Andrs Ibarra, Government Secretary of Agriculture Luis Etchevehere, and senior officials will be accompanying Macri during the visit.
 
Argentina's first lady Juliana Awada will also be accompanying Macri.
 
Macri will visit Agra on February 17. A day later, he will hold delegation-level talks with Modi and have other official engagements.
 
He will travel to Mumbai on February 19.
 
The state visit of Macri is taking place in the 70th year of formal diplomatic relations between the two countries.
    
Source: Business Standard



India likely to gain $11 billion in exports from US-China trade war: UNCTAD

Feb 15, 2019

There may be a golden lining for India in the dark clouds of the tariff war waged by US President Donald Trump against China, and it is likely to increase its exports by as much as $11 billion if the proposed tariffs go into effect next month, according to the UN's trade arm.

    
Source: Retail Economictimes.indiatimes



Modi to visit Korea, discuss bilateral issues

Feb 15, 2019

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold talks with South Korean President Moon Jae-in on issues to strengthen economic and strategic ties in his visit to Seoul next week. Modi will also be awarded the Seoul Peace Prize announced last year.
 
The two sides are expected to discuss issues, including intensifying cooperation in defence, increasing trade and investments and easing visa rules.
 
The Prime Minister will arrive in Seoul on February 21 on a visit that will provide an important occasion for the two leaders to review the recent developments in bilateral relations, the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.
 
It will also provide an opportunity to exchange views on regional and international issues of common interest with the objective of further strengthening the special strategic partnership between the two countries based on shared values and interests, it said.
 
India is already working on providing the visa-on-arrival facility to tourists from South Korea and the move will enhance people to people contact between the two countries, said Vijay Thakur Singh, MEA Secretary (East).
 
The Prime Minister will participate in the India-Korea business symposium and will also inaugurate the India-Korea start-up hub, she said.
 
Moon will hold a private dinner for Modi on the first day of the visit and there will be a ceremonial welcome and official banquet for the Indian PM at the Blue House, the official residence of the South Korean head of state, on February 22.
 
The same day he will be conferred with the 2018 Seoul Peace Prize at a ceremony to be organised by the Seoul Peace Prize Cultural Foundation in recognition of his national and international contributions.
    
Source: The Hindu Businessline



Rupee payment mechanism to facilitate exports to Iran'

Feb 15, 2019

Exporters association Federation of Indian Export Organisations (FIEO) said that the recent developments including the Rupee payment mechanism was welcome move which will go a long way in facilitating exports to Iran.
 
With an objective to bring more clarity on the various trade-related issues with Iran for the benefit of large section of exporters, Mr Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO, UCO Bank along with other senior officials interacted with the EXIM fraternity at a meeting organized by FIEO in association with UCO Bank at Kolkata on February 11.
 
Mahesh Chandra Keyal, FIEO Managing Committee Member stated that there are several challenges pertaining to payments, shipment, exchange of documents, insurance etc in exports to Iran.
 
However, recent developments including the Rupee payment mechanism was welcome move and more such concerted efforts are required which will go a long way in facilitating exports to Iran, which has started improving and should cross USD 3 Billion during this financial year, he added.
 
Atul Kumar Goel, MD & CEO, UCO Bank while addressing the audience pointed out the various nuances and complexities of the trade sanctions imposed on Iran over the decades.
 
He acknowledged the concerns of the exporters and assured the audience that UCO Bank has been working relentlessly with the various stakeholders throughout India to address all such issues.
 
He categorically stated that several steps have been taken by the bank in this regard like training of officials, redressal centres etc with a very proactive and single point focus of not depriving a single exporter to Iran.    
 
Shankara Narayanan V, GM, International Banking Division, UCO Bank explained on the various technicalities related to export payments with Iran and gave a presentation on the Rupee Payment mechanism. 
    
Source: Sme Times



Government working on 0% import duty on cashew kernel: Prabhu

Feb 15, 2019

As a measure of support for India's cashew industry, the government is working on eliminating the import duty on cashew kernel, Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Thursday.
 
Addressing the Kaju India 2019 global cashew buyer-seller meet organised by the Cashew Export Promotion Council of India (CEPCI), he also said that under the new National Agriculture Export Policy, the government has identified specific agriculture export zones and clusters that are well connected with ports and airports in the country.
 
The government reduced customs duty to 2.5 per cent on cashew kernel and is now working on 0 per cent import duty.
 
The new agriculture policy has been jointly prepared by the ministries of Commerce, Agriculture, and Food Processing. The Commerce Ministry will also set up a series of centres in states to help farmers and exporters to brand and sell products to international market, he said.
 
According to CEPCI, India processes 17 lakh tonnes of raw cashew nuts per annum. Of this, around 9 lakh tonnes are imported, mainly from African countries.
 
Under pressure due to serious competition from from foreign competitors at home and abroad , the Indian cashew industry has sought government intervention to create a level playing field and revision of the minimum import price (MIP).
 
CEPCI Chairman R.K. Bhoodes said on Tuesday that in view of issues being faced by the sector, the Council has urged the government to revise the MIP for cashew kernels and allied products, as well as provide support to exporters.
    
Source: Business Standard



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