Thrust on jobs in Foreign Trade Policy review
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Thrust on jobs in Foreign Trade Policy review

New schemes for services, aviation, jewellery, marine products and auto parts are some of the FTP highlights.

india Updated: Apr 07, 2006 18:16 IST

With a thrust on services and job creation in rural and semi-urban areas, Commerce Minister Kamal Nath Friday released the annual review of India's foreign trade policy before export houses on Friday.

New schemes and incentives for services, aviation, gems and jewellery, marine products and auto components are some of the highlights of the second annual review of the policy that runs from 2004 to 2009.

"In line with the government's promise of a stable foreign trade policy regime, this year's supplement does not alter the broad contours of the main Policy," the minister said while unveiling the annual review.

"But recognizing the dynamic nature of international trade and the need for a periodic realignment of our international trade strategies, contemporary issues have to be addressed from time to time, and this is what this initiative does."

With the services industry today accounting for 52 per cent of the nation's gross domestic product, and the total services trade topping 4100 billion, the annual review has altered the 'Served from India" scheme to encourage services exports.

Auto component manufacturers have also been allowed to import new vehicles for research and development purposes without the procedural hassles of getting them certified.

"This is necessary to give our research and development labs easier access to the latest technologies current in the auto component industry," Kamal Nath said.

"India is on the move, metaphorically as well as literally. We not only have the fastest growing automobile market in the world, but India is fast emerging as an important centre for sourcing auto-components."

The review has also decided to treat supplies such as food, beverages and fuel to international airline companies as exports to make them qualify for several export promotion schemes.

"Currently, most airlines replenish supplies or refuel at Thailand, Malaysia or Singapore. Since these supplies were not treated as exports in India the store supplies from India were not competitive enough," the minister said.

A number of schemes have also been unveiled for the gems and jewellery sector - permission to import precious metal scrap for export, re-import rejected goods, reduction in value-addition norm for importing gold and silver for re-export to 4.5 per cent to seven per cent.

"Because of a rich tradition of craftsmanship, enterprise and availability of skilled, low cost manpower India has the potential to become an international hub for gems and jewellery," the minister said.

"The diamond trade, which was concentrated in Antwerp, is moving out - to Dubai, to Tel Aviv. I want Mumbai be right up there, and not lose out to its fellow Asian cities."

Kamal Nath had unveiled the country's first five-year foreign trade policy - as opposed to export-import policy in the past - in August 2004, to take a holistic view of India's foreign trade and double its share in global trade by 2009.

"I am delighted to say merchandize exports have crossed the magic figure of $100 billion. In fact, they have touched the auspicious figure $101 billion dollars - the annual growth rate is 25 percent," Kamal Nath said.

"Our foreign trade policy has served us well. What else could account for the grand leap forward by our exports? Within just two years, we have jumped 60 percent from $63 billion to $101 billion," he said in conclusion.

First Published: Apr 07, 2006 13:07 IST