Global Economy

COVID-19: Foreign trade policy may get extended

NEW DELHI: The government is likely to extend the existing Foreign Trade Policy by six months to September 30 in the wake of the Covid-19 outbreak. A decision is expected in a couple of days, officials said.

“There is a request to extend the extant policy from many export promotion councils; we are looking at it,” an official aware of the development told ET.

The request was made at a videoconference commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal held with industry representatives on Friday to assess the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak and the ongoing lockdown in the country, and to get their feedback and suggestions in ameliorating the situation.

“Industry said it is not desirable to make changes at this juncture,” a second official said. We are in advanced stages of consideration and will decide soon.”

The government had begun stakeholder consultations for the new policy which is likely to have a separate chapter on ecommerce and focus on import substitutions to make India self-reliant.

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Exports from India touched $292.9 billion in the 11 months to February 2020, while imports were $436.03 billion.

At the meeting with Goyal, industry representatives also called for some more measures to boost the country’s sagging exports before the new policy is implemented.

China is back on its feet and has increased the export tax rebate for its exporters which has put India’s export markets and orders at risk, they said.

“The issue of other countries accepting digital copies of documents came up, especially because courier services are not operational,” said an industry representative who attended the videoconference.

High fixed charges of electricity and expanding the Employee State Insurance and Provident Fund cover to all industrial workers for three months were also discussed.

“The EPCs apprised of the impact of the pandemic on their activities and businesses, and made a range of suggestions to overcome the hardships,” the commerce and industry ministry said in a statement.


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