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Wednesday, September 23, 2020

DGFT in ‘overhaul’ mode to address trade issues

The body is working in consultation with the industry to augment domestic manufacturing and boost exports in several electronics and hardware items, especially those in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

By: ENS Economic Bureau | New Delhi | August 6, 2020 1:07:29 am
The development comes after the government earlier this year had to block exports of crucial devices like ventilators when it was found that there was not enough domestic capacity for these products to allow the industry to meet foreign commitments. (File)

The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) is undergoing a revamp to address issues related to trade barriers as well as help build capacities to accelerate exports, said the organisation’s chief on Wednesday. The body is working in consultation with the industry to augment domestic manufacturing and boost exports in several electronics and hardware items, especially those in the healthcare and pharmaceutical sector.

The development comes after the government earlier this year had to block exports of crucial devices like ventilators when it was found that there was not enough domestic capacity for these products to allow the industry to meet foreign commitments. The DGFT recently lifted the ban on exports after sufficient capacity had been created and seeing as the case fatality rate in the country was low, which meant less people needed to be on ventilators.

According to DGFT Amit Yadav, the body is in an “overhaul” mode and several changes are being introduced to respond to present challenges. “By the end of this year, we hope to complete the overhaul work and many changes will be brought about to address the trade barriers and to ensure ease of doing business,” he said while addressing an interactive webinar organised by the Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC).

The DGFT, in consultation with industry bodies, is focusing on creating more capacities within the country to produce items in the electronics and hardware sector, including ventilators, which can reduce the country’s import dependence and augment exports, as per a release on the session.

“Within our set up, we are consulting with industry and others where we should focus to create new capacities to reduce import and accelerate exports,” Yadav said, as per the release.

In the case of ventilators, there were shortages earlier and now the focus would be more on creating manufacturing capacities and exporting them, stated the release.

The DGFT also stressed the need to develop an electronic component sector in order to build strong backward and forward linkages. According to him, continuous consultations have been held with the industry and other stakeholders to understand the “pain points and to ensure forward and backward integration in the electronics and hardware sector”.

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