Govt to extend existing foreign trade policy till March next year: Piyush Goyal

Commerce and industry minister Piyush Goyal on Monday said that the existing foreign trade policy (FTP) will be extended till March 31 next year, a second extension ahead of its September 30 deadline.

At an event organised by the Federation of Indian Export Organizations, he also said that India’s merchandise exports during April-September 21 were over $185 billion.

The government had earlier extended the FTP 2015-20 until September 30 this year due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

“We are notifying it today evening or tomorrow…We have decided to extend the policy until March 31 (2022)…and in the (new) financial year, we can start with the new policy,” Goyal said, adding that Covid-19 issues would be resolved by then.

On March 31, 2020, the government had extended the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20 for one year till March 31, 2021, amid the coronavirus outbreak and the lockdown following it.

On the issue of high prices charged by shipping companies, Goyal said that he has asked the Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) to discuss the issue with the shipping ministry.

“Shipping companies in exchange rates charge very phenomenal prices causing a loss to our exporters. I have asked DGFT to talk to shipping ministry so that we can have predetermined rates like we have customs rate,” he said.

The minister also said that he has asked the State Bank of India to come up with a fair rate which should be uniformly applied to all exporters- big or small.

Trade facilitation portal

Goyal on Monday inaugurated a trade facilitation portal developed by FIEO to bring exporters and logistics service providers (LSPs) on a single platform.

FIEO president A Sakhtivel said that that over 1,800 exporters and around 300 service providers onboarded the portal during the soft launch.

“To ensure an effective response rate to exporters demand, FIEO has also obtained support from all the leading logistics associations,” Sakthivel said.

These associations include the Container Shipping Lines, Freight Forwarders and Multimodal Transport Operators.

Exporters can post details of their container requirements directly to service providers for providing their best quotes, enabling exporters to chat, negotiate and finalize business. The portal would aid better price discovery for exporters and their container fulfilment probability shall improve through this portal.

Moreover, with advance visibility of demands, the logistics service provider LSPs would be in a better position to do equipment planning and container repositioning besides getting access to demands of pan India exporters giving them wider business outreach, FIEO said in a statement.

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