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No decline in exports under GSP tariffs after benefits withdrawn: Piyush Goyal

Dec 12, 2019

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Wednesday told Parliament on that so far the cumulative exports under the Generalised System of Preference (GSP) tariff lines have not declined in the post GSP withdrawal period (June – Oct 2019) as compared to the corresponding period of the previous year.
 
In 2018, India exported goods worth of $6.3 billion (as per USTR figures) to the US under the GSP, which was around 12.1 per cent of India’s total export to the US. The average duty concessions accruing on account of GSP were almost $240 million in 2018, which was about 3.8 per cent of India’s exports to the US availing the GSP benefits. The impact varies across products, depending on the individual product level concessions which were availed under the GSP.
 
Under the GSP, certain products can enter the US duty-free if beneficiary developing countries meet the eligibility criteria established by their Congress. GSP criteria include, among others, respecting arbitral awards in favour of American citizens or corporations, combating child labour, respecting internationally recognized worker rights, providing adequate and effective intellectual property protection, and providing the US with equitable and reasonable market access. Countries can also be graduated from the GSP program depending on factors related to their economic development.
 
The US launched an eligibility review of India’s compliance with the GSP market access criterion in April 2018. The petitions filed by the US dairy and the medical devices industry were also included in this review, which alleged that Indian trade barriers affected American exports in these sectors.
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Local brands flourish as demand for organic produce rises in India, abroad

Dec 12, 2019

The growing demand for organic products in domestic and international market,  has resulted in mushrooming of small FMCG companies.
 
People around the globe are getting more conscious of what they are eating. Urban middle class does not want chemicals in their food and are switching to organic products. From fruits and vegetables to cereals, spices to tea and coffee, people prefer organic products, Viney Singh, managing director, FabIndia said.
 
The company is one of the pioneers in popularising the organic way of living. Starting from Organic India Tulsi tea, the brand’s product portfolio today boasts of hundreds of organic products. The latest addition was Fabcafe, started in 2017, which offers organic food and a wellness centre to its customers.
 
According to Avalon Consulting, organic produce may prove to be the next big thing in the domestic market. Even by conservative measures, the Indian organic food market is expected to grow in the short-term at a compound annual growth rate of 20 per cent – taking it above the $2 billion mark by 2024.
    
Source: New indian express



Indo-US 2+2 talks principal mechanism for translating strategic convergence into tangible outcomes

Dec 12, 2019

Ahead of the the 2+2 ministerial level dialogue between India and the US next week, a top American diplomat on Wednesday said that under the Trump administration the dialogue has become principal mechanism between the two countries for translating strategic convergence into tangible outcomes.
 
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will arrive here next week for the second round of '2+2' dialogue with their US counterparts Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Mark Esper on December 18.
 
The inaugural '2+2' Indo-US dialogue was held in New Delhi in September last year.
 
In New Delhi, there's been a growing consensus that no relationship matters more when it comes to advancing India's economic and security interests as well as its global aspirations, Acting Assistant Secretary for South and Central Asia, Alice G Wells, told a Washington audience.
 
Now, the 2+2 dialogue has become the principal mechanism under the Trump administration for translating this strategic convergence into tangible outcomes. It's really contributed to a sea change in recent years and how we do things with India, Wells said.
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Piyush Goyal stresses on MSME exports; says opportunity for small businesses globally under FTAs

Dec 12, 2019

The tariff concessions under the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) signed by India gives export opportunities for products including those from SMEs, said Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal. The SME products on which such concessions are offered by India’s trading partners including Japan, South Korea and some ASEAN countries, belong to categories including readymade garments, leather goods, processed foods, and engineering products such as auto components, Goyal informed Lok Sabha on Wednesday. MSME focused export promotion schemes include participation in international exhibitions and fairs, training programme on the packaging for exports, Market Development Assistance (MDA) Scheme for MSME exporters and National Award for quality products.
 
MSMEs contribute 49 per cent share to India’s total exports, which the government is targeting to increase to 60 per cent, MSME minister Nitin Gadkari had said at an event last month. India’s total exports stood at $24 billion in October 2019, according to the government data. To boost India’s trade and competitiveness. The government had introduced the Foreign Trade Policy (FTP) in 2015 for increasing exports of goods and services along with creating employment. India’s rank in ‘trading across borders’ by the World Bank has improved from 122 to 68 this year.
    
Source: Financial Express



JNPT, COCOR start export train service from Ludhiana

Dec 12, 2019

Jawaharlal Nehru Port Trust (JNPT), in association with CONCOR, has commenced its weekly scheduled export train service from ICD Ludhiana to JNPT.
 
This service, to be operated on every Saturday, is aimed at ensuring faster evacuation of export containers destined for JNPT.
 
The Ludhiana ICD caters to a vast interior market that includes the States of Himachal Pradesh, Haryana, and Rajasthan.
 
With an extensive network of more than 80 ICDs nationwide, CONCOR commands the bulk of Indian containerised rail transportation.
 
Sanjay Sethi, chairman, JNPT, said, Today marks the start of a new chapter, enhancing trade connectivity between Ludhiana and Maharashtra. JNPT handling the majority of India’s container freight and connectivity between the two cities is extremely significant for the emerging market economy.
 
It will open an opportunity for enhancing cargo generation between Ludhiana and JNPT through rail, he said.
 
On an average, JNPT currently sends and receives nearly 20 trains daily.
    
Source: The Hindu



Govt carrying out reforms to boost economy: Piyush Goyal

Dec 12, 2019

The government has carried out a number of reforms in various sectors and it is a continuous process for improvement in the economy, Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal said in the Lok Sabha on Wednesday. He said some of the reforms were by way of amendments in various acts such as the Finance (Amendment) Bills, the Special Economic Zones (Amendment) Bill, amendments in the Goods and Services Tax Act and the Insolvency and Bankruptcy Code.
 
The government has already carried out a number of reforms in various sectors and the reform process is a continuous process for improvement in the economy, Goyal said during the Question Hour.
 
He said as regards reforms in the tax system, it is stated that through the Taxation Laws (Amendment) Ordinance, 2019 (the Ordinance), corporate tax rates were reduced to 22 per cent plus the applicable surcharge and cess for all domestic corporate persons not claiming any deduction or incentive .
 
Further, an option was given to any new domestic manufacturing company incorporated on or after October 1, 2019 to avail lower corporate tax rates of 15 per cent, with the applicable surcharge and cess, without claiming any deduction or incentive as per sub-section (2) of section 115BAB of the Act, provided they commence manufacturing or production of an article or thing by March 31, 2023, Goyal said.
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Startup India funds to be disbursed before 2024-25

Dec 12, 2019

The government's Startup India fund would be disbursed much before 2024-25 as the number of startups is growing, a senior official said.
 
Out of Rs 10,000 crore, much of the fund under Fund of Funds for Startups has not been sanctioned. The fund was established until 2024-25 for deployment. But I expect the disbursal to be exhausted much before that time because of the demand which is coming up and the entire system is getting fixed. We are also seeing how we can start deploying faster and also reach out to smaller start-ups, another focus area of that fund, Deepak Bagla, MD & CEO, Invest India told IANS.
 
He was here for the Invest India/Start Up India event to attract venture capitalists.
 
Out of this Rs 10,000 crore, SIDBI, the operating agency for this fund, has committed Rs 3,123.2 crore to 49 alternative investment funds to boost startups, as per ministry data.
 
The government had established Rs 10,000 crore FFS to meet the financial needs of startups. The Department of Industrial Policy and Promotion (DIPP) is the monitoring agency, while Small Industries Development Bank of India (SIDBI) is the operating agency for the FFS.
 
Bagla said India has 25,000 startups registered. Market is looking at up to 50,000 startups which are already there. But since we have a definition of startups, the official figure is 25,000.
 
As per the industry ministry definition, MSMEs are not startups in India. Startups should have an element of innovation in them. The entire pipeline of startups coming into the ecosystem is coming at a very faster rate. That's why we are number two in having huge numbers of startups in the world as market statistics tell that India already has 45,000-50,000 startups, he said.
    
Source: outlookindia.com



Centre asks states to lift pulses from buffer stock to cool rising prices

Dec 12, 2019

Amid rising prices of pulses, the Centre has asked states to place demand for subsidised pulses available in Centre’s buffer stock. Union minister Ram Vilas Paswan has written all state governments to lift pulses for their distribution through public distribution system (pds) or through other retail network.
 
The government sells pulses including tur and chana through ration shops at prices ranging between Rs 45-55 a kg. In retail market. the prices of tur, urad and chana are ruling between Rs 70-120 a kg.
 
Prices of all the pulses rising every day. With reports of weak crop this year, the price are likely to go up further. We have enough quantity in our buffer stock. States should take benefit of this, said a senior consumer affairs minsitry official.
 
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Government readies plan to push India into top 50 ease of business rankings

Dec 12, 2019

The government on Tuesday set out the roadmap to get India to break into the top 50 countries in the World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business rankings with Prime Minister Narendra Modi brainstorming with ministries.
 
The government has already worked out a strategy to focus on Kolkata and Bangalore, the two new cities that will be reviewed by the World Bank after it expanded the scope of the annual exercise to cover four Indian cities. Discussions have taken place with top state government officials in West Bengal and Karnataka, who have offered full cooperation. Every state wants to do well, said a source at the Centre.
 
India is currently ranked 63 and the government is putting special emphasis on areas such as enforcement of contracts, registering property, starting a business and paying taxes, while maintaining its focus on improving on other aspects to move up the rankings.
 
It is like a competitive exam, where your rank also depends on how the other countries perform, said a source.
 
Sources said that the department for promotion of industry and internal trade made a detailed presentation on the areas that each department has to focus on this year.
 
While the government has set up special courts to improve the environment on enforcement of contracts, sources said, this aspect may need attention to behavioural change apart from greater sensitisation. Similarly, in case of property registration, gains may not be immediately visible as the World Bank wants a near overhaul of the system with greater digitisation and availability of property records for several years.
    
Source: Economictimes.indiatimes



Bangladesh foreign minister on 3-day India visit from today, to attend key talks on Indo-Pacific region

Dec 12, 2019

India Bangladesh  Foreign Minister A K Abdul Momen will arrive in Delhi on Thursday on a three-day visit to attend the sixth edition of the Indian Ocean Dialogue and the combined session of the Delhi Dialogue XI as well as hold talks on bilateral issues with external affairs minister S Jaishanker.
 
The two Track 1.5 dialogues to be held at the Pravasi Bharatiya Kendra here consecutively on two days from December 13 aims to build an inclusive approach for a "cooperative, free, and rules-based Indo-Pacific" region.
 
The visiting dignitary scheduled to arrive in the national capital this evening.
 
Hosted by the Ministry of External Affairs the dialogues--which are key elements of the Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA), and the India-ASEAN calendars respectively-will be held consecutively and on similar, Indo-Pacific themes.
 
    
Source: Ani News



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