Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20

Foreign Trade Policy of India 2015-20 has been announced on 1st April 2015. It is a key policy announcement by New Modi government and can be a revolutionary start of internationalization of India’s foreign trade. While the provisions and targets of new foreign trade policy are very modest, if implemented well the policy document will prove to be one of the best foreign trade policy document in South Asia and SAARC region. This video is part of an MDP conducted by me in New Delhi in April 2015 on the topic which was attended by senior industry persons representing large organizations, involved in international trade.

Port Infrastructure in India

One of the biggest hurdle for increasing India’s share in the world trade is its sagging port infrastructure. We have to go a long way in world trade by sea in terms of an efficient and cost effective marine logistics. This video discusses most important aspects of India’s port infrastructure which need to be addressed on an urgent basis.

Geopolitical History of World Petroleum Resources

The idea of ‘Petroleum’ as the most important source of energy for human progress was an excellent idea far back in 1852 when it originated in US. Today the idea’s worth is debatable if it has done more good than the bad for the human kind. The geopolitical upheavals in the oil producing countries, technological and financial dependence of global businesses on petroleum, have made new ideas unsustainable knowing very well that humanity and environment is becoming more and more unsustainable due to overuse of the old idea. This video is a geopolitical history of petroleum and petroleum resources. The perspective of narration in the video is academic in nature and subject to debate and feedback. Your attention is requested to this 2 part video series on the topic as per following links.

Export Documentation – Commercial Docs

This video discusses the nature and significance of commercial documents in the overall process of export documentation. The documents have been explained in simplified manner. Most commercial documents like Commercial Invoice, Packing List, Certificate of Origin, Quality Certificate, Insurance Certificate, Freight Certificates and others are covered in this short video.

New five year integrated foreign trade policy unveiled today

Modi Govternment’s Maiden Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 has been announced today after a delay of 1 year. The new foreign trade policy for exporters and SEZs provides new focus to services exports making it a par with merchandise exports. Multiple schemes as provisioned in the past foreign trade policies have been squeezed into a single scheme for merchandise exports, namely merchandise exports from India Scheme (MEIS) and another under services exports, namely Services Exports from India Scheme (SEIS). Apart from making it simple to understand these 2 prime schemes for exports brings same status for merchandise exports as well as services exports.  More importantly the new foreign trade policy provisions will be reviewed at an interval of two and half years instead of on yearly basis. This approach can go a long way in simplifying an understanding of the provisions of the new foreign trade policy.

New policy aims to double the overall exports to 900 Billion USD from the current approximately 450 Billion USD. Apart from increased focus on specified areas of services exports, policy aims at structural, systematic and systemic reforms to make India’s exports more competitive, having world class quality and dealing with environmentally sustainable products to make them more acceptable in the international market in medium to long term. Therefore policy focuses on labor intensive, high value adding, agriculture related and naturally competitive merchandise exports sectors.

In services sectors too focus is on sectors like tourism, hospitality, medical tourism, R&D and others. In a significant move it is proposed to make SEZ schemes more attractive by extending benefits of MEIS and SEIS to SEZs. SEZ schemes lost its sheen in 2012 after imposition of Minimum Alternative Tax (MAT) and Dividend Distribution Tax (DDT) for these zones.

Duty Credit Scrips have been made fully and freely transferable and usable to pay customs duty, excise duty and service tax. Specified services exports will get these scripts as incentives at the rates ranging from 3 to 5% who can wither use them or sell these in the market. In another significant change, SEIS will be applied to ‘services exporters located in India’ rather than Indian Services Exporters’. It will encourage ‘Make in India’ or ‘Served from India’ mission more attractive to global corporations.

New FTP is proposing to establish an Export Promotion Mission (EPM) a bridge between central government and state government to work together to promote state-wise export clusters. A significant initiative has been proposed to implement the FTP in more effective manner by appointing senior officials in each central department with roles as focal points for exports and imports.

While the new foreign trade policy has many old provisions in newer formats, still the new policy may potentially bring lot of enthusiasm among merchandise and services exporters. More importantly policy aims at simplifying the procedures and to bring systematic reforms in line with “Ease of Doing Business’ mission. However objective to double India’s exports and make India’s share in world trade to 3.5% from current 2% seems to be very conservative, especially in the wake of increased focus on services exports. A change of nomenclature of ‘export houses’ to 1,2,3,4 and 5 Star Export Houses will mean nothing unless new better schemes are announced for status holders. A new focus on agriculture exports is welcome, however it has to be seen if we can benefit from such focus given the rampant tariff and non tariff barriers in importing countries for agricultural products.