“The temporary eclipse of both Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement and Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership has provided breathing space to Indian enterprises and policymakers to improve competitiveness of exports. This would mean improving standards in intellectual property rights (IPR), data security, sanitary and phytosanitary conditions, labeling etc. This would give us time to introduce economic reforms to make the Indian enterprises genuinely competitive,” said Dr. Siddhartha Roy, Economic Advisor, Tata Groupat a panel discussion during the 1st in the series of World Trade Day Maharashtra. During discussion, which is on ‘Regional Trading Blocs and the Emerging Trading System’ is organised by World Trade Centre Mumbai in association with All India Association of Industries (AIAI).
Dr. Roy further said,” India must broaden the scope of bilateral and regional arrangements to include services.”
In her remarks, Dr. Rupa Chanda, Professor, Reserve Bank of India, Economics, Indian Institute of Management said, ”India must be less defensive and must have a positive and forward looking trade policy agenda, both in preferential and multilateral discussions. This will transform Indiainto a major trading nation. Specifically, India must focus on adoption of global standards, strengthening its manufacturing sector and entering into global production networks, strengthening and broadening the source of competitiveness in its service sector and so on. Much will depend on what India does alongside, domestically to leverage its free trade agreements (FTAs).”
India must invest on trade facilitation, skilling, logistics and infrastructure. Government of India must also continue domestic reforms to create a more open, competitive and innovative economy, Dr. Chanda added.
Dr. Prabir De, Coordinator, ASEAN-India Centre of Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) said, ”FTAs create pathways for private sector to be globally competitive. The central government must adopt inclusive approach in involving state governments on foreign trade policy.”
Mr. Akshay Mathur, Director- Research & Analysis, Gateway House moderated the panel discussion. During his introductory remarks, Mr. Mathur said,”The emerging international trading system is characterized by the changing nature of trade in services, fragmentation of the existing trading blocs and sensitivity to trade imbalance.”
Dr. Malini Shankar, IAS, Director General of Shipping, Ministry of Shipping, Govt. of India, Guest of Honourwhile delivering the Special Address at the event, highlighted two challenges in international trade. One of the challenges is the emergence of non-tariff barriers especially in times of downturn in international trade. Another challenge highlighted by Dr. Shankar is the lack of transparency in the tariff structure of logistics companies. She said, ”Logistics companies must adopt more transparency in their tariff structure in order to benefit local manufacturers and traders.”
Earlier in his welcome remarks, Mr. Vijay Kalantri, Vice Chairman, World Trade Centre Mumbai said,” This is the first time we have hosted World Trade Week in India.We must promote international trade to ensure overall economic development and prosperity of the society. We must enhance investment in infrastructure sector to improve the competitiveness of Manufacturing and Services Sector.”
Mr. Kalantri said Skill India, Digital India startup and Make in India are good initiatives but they have to be implemented by going all out to make the atmosphere more conducive and Ease of doing Business at all levels, cumbersome procedures and regulations should be done away with.
During the event, World Trade Centre Mumbai honoured outstanding exporters and logistics service providers by presenting them the award of honour. M/s. Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd, M/s. Tata International Ltd, M/s. Kay Bee Group of Companies, M/s. ABC Chemicals, M/s. Royal Forwarders Pvt. Ltd, and M/s. KhimjiPoonja Freight Forwarder Pvt. Ltd for their contribution in Exports and Logistics Sector.
The event also featured the release of the Handbook on International Trade. The Handbook is a compilation of articles on various dimensions of international trade authored by experts and industry leaders.
World Trade Centre Mumbai has taken the pioneering initiative to bring World Trade Day, which is organised by World Trade Centers and Trade Promotion Organisations across the globe, to India. The main aim of World Trade Day is to create awareness about the role of international trade in regional economic growth.
Mr. Y.R. Warerkar, Executive Director, World Trade Centre proposed the Vote of Thanks.
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