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

FE Online

Trade, Imports, Exports for MSMEs: 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.

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The minister added that the Interest Equalization Scheme on pre and post-shipment rupee export credit was launched in 2015 to give interest equalisation at 3 per cent for labour intensive and MSME sectors. The rate was increased to 5 per cent for MSME sectors in November last year while the merchant exporters were covered under the scheme from January 2019 onwards.

Goyal in the meeting with BRICS trade ministers in Brasilia, Brazil last month had lashed out at developing countries saying that the increasing trends of protectionism in the form of non-tariff barriers (NTB) are denying market access to MSMEs, particularly from the developing countries. The minister added that while developed countries talk about open and free trade by removing tariffs in developing countries but they themselves increase barriers in the form of NTBs. This is creating economic uncertainties and increasing the cost to carry out trade in developing and least developed countries.