India’s New Foreign Trade Policy Expected to be Announced March 31

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On Friday, India is set to reveal its highly anticipated Foreign Trade Policy 2023, aimed at bolstering exports in the face of sluggish global trade. The policy will be unveiled by Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal as per the ministry.

The existing Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20) will remain effective until March 31, 2023, with its last extension in effect from October 1, 2022 for a period of six months. The policy was extended several times – initially due to delays caused by the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns – and to ensure that all stakeholders are sufficiently accommodated.

The foreign trade policy, to be announced by Goyal, is expected to present a vision statement aimed at elevating India’s goods and services exports to US$2 trillion by 2030.

The ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict and supply chain disruptions have adversely affected India’s trade. According to sources, the upcoming policy is expected to include export promotion measures that comply with WTO regulations.

India’s exports cross US$750 billion in FY2022-23

India is projected to achieve a total export figure of US$760 billion by the end of FY 2022-23, up from US$676 billion recorded in FY 2021-22. In FY 2022, the total value of goods and services exports for India had reached a high of US$422 billion and US$254 billion, respectively. As of March 28, Goyal announced that Indian exports had crossed the US$750 billion mark, an all-time high.

We’ve had a record run of FDI over the last decade with an all-time high every year until March 2022. Exports at about $500 billion in 2021 saw a phenomenal 35% jump to $676 billion last year. Today we have crossed $750 billion in exports with growth in both goods and services exported. I am sure we can achieve $2 trillion – a trillion each in goods and services respectively. – Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce

Meanwhile India’s merchandise imports for FY 2022-23 also grew significantly as crude imports rose 53 percent over the last fiscal. For example, imports from Russia increased by 850 percent over last year, as per the Global Trade Research Initiative (GTRI), an economic think tank.

India’s merchandise imports are dominated by six product categories: petroleum, crude oil, coal, coke, diamond, precious metals, chemicals, pharma, rubber, plastics, electronics, and machinery. Together, these categories make up 82 percent of India’s total merchandise imports.

To make Indian exports globally more competitive, the country has been pursuing several free trade agreements. Most recently, it concluded a CEPA with the UAE and an ECTA with Australia. These have boosted two-way trade flows to the respective markets. A comprehensive free trade deal with the UK remains in the works with eight rounds of negotiations done.

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