- Source: A government-commissioned report prepared by the global consultancy firm Frost & Sullivan
- Current status: India’s foreign trade strategy and policy is currently being piloted predominantly by the Prime Minister’s Office and External Affairs Ministry
- Change needed: India’s future trade (policy) model should have the Commerce Department at the helm, supported by ministries including External Affairs and Finance
- Also a ‘transformed’ Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) should be the apex body for all trade promotion activities for the country
- Trade Service: Report makes a strong case for a higher profile for the Indian Trade Service (ITS) in matters of trade policies & systems.
- At present, the officials belonging to the Indian Administrative Service, Foreign Service and Revenue Service evidently have a relatively superior role over ITS cadre regarding decisions on crucial trade policy matters
- DGFT: A transformed DGFT should be made accountable for all trade promotion activities for India — providing services such as trade representation in foreign countries, research & development, market intelligence, business matchmaking services as well as public relations, advertising and marketing services
- Recruit professionals: Noting that the DGFT needs to re-skill its resources to be successful, future recruitment should focus on professionals with experience and qualifications in trade and commerce from reputed institutions
- Background: The report comes at a time when India’s goods exports have not yet recovered fully from the impact of a prolonged contraction from December 2014 to May 2016, as well as the government’s demonetisation exercise early November
- India is currently ranked 130 out of 190 countries in the ease of doing business; and particularly on the parameter of ‘trading across borders’ currently ranked at a dismal 143
- It also comes in the backdrop of the World Trade Organisation (WTO) stating in December 2016 that “… the number of new trade-restrictive measures being introduced (by WTO Member countries) remains worryingly high given continuing global economic uncertainty and the WTO’s downward revision of its trade forecasts”
The news has a lot of reform or way forward points for trade & commerce in/by India.
1.Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) organisation is an attached office of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry and is headed by Director General of Foreign Trade.
2.From its inception till 1991, when liberalization in the economic policies of the Government took place, it has been essentially involved in the regulation and promotion of foreign trade through regulation. Keeping in line with liberalization and globalization and the overall objective of increasing of exports, DGFT has since been assigned the role of “facilitator”. The shift was from prohibition and control of imports/exports to promotion and facilitation of exports/imports, keeping in view the interests of the country.
3. It is responsible for formulating and implementing the Foreign Trade Policy with the main objective of promoting India’s exports.