Commerce and Industry Minister Nirmala Sitharaman on Friday sought inputs for review of the foreign trade policy (FTP) from candidates pursuing courses at Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT). IIFT is a prestigious institute under the ministry. “I would draw your attention and seek your participation in the FTP, which is being reviewed. The major part is almost done. We did lot of stakeholder consultations. I would like you to look at the FTP and tell us what do you think will have to be changed, tweaked or amended. Give your inputs,” Sitharaman said.
She was addressing students and faculty at the 51st convocation of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade. The ministry is expected to release the FTP (2015-20) by September. Sitharaman also asked the doctorate students to consider academics as a career and being in teaching profession.
“There is today a desperate move to have a good faculty members teaching foreign trade,” she said. Exports are recording positive growth and it will be an important area in which “I would require academic inputs to come and for which we need good faculty members”, she added. The minister further said that global economies are tightening their positions and not following the principles of free and fair trade.
Protectionism is increasing and trade barriers are really coming up from most unexpected quarters, she said adding due to this global economy has to be understood, studied and analysed by experts. “I think there is an immense scope for India at every level to build its capacity,” the minister said.
Sitharaman said that there is a shortfall of well trained trade negotiators, experts in international negotiations and experts who have a cross-pollinated view. “IIFT can give people of that calibre. Give India that kind of negotiator and experts,” she said. Talking about trade in services, she said it is in the range of USD 10 trillion globally and India has also presented a paper to the WTO where it wants a framework for a trade facilitation agreement in services.
“That paper is gaining lot of momentum and it is under discussion in WTO. In my recent visit to Geneva, I discussed as how it can move forward,” she said. Further, she added that people from different areas should also be part of the faculty at IIFT. Indian trade service officers may also come for a short duration to meet the academic shortage.