Ministry of Commerce & Industry
azadi ka amrit mahotsav g20-india-2023

Year End Review 2022 for Department of Commerce, Ministry of Commerce and Industry

India’s merchandise registers a positive growth of 12.6% from April-October, 2021-22 to April-October, 2022-23

India’s Services export registers a positive growth of 31.43% from April-October, 2021-22 to April-October, 2022-23

Centre takes several proactive policy amendments to facilitate Rupee trade to fast-track internationalisation of Indian Rupee

India-UAE CEPA which came into force on 1 May 2022 to help increase bilateral trade from the current USD 60 bn to USD 100 bn in the next 5 years

Shri Piyush Goyal attends the first Ministerial meeting of the Economy & Investment Committee under the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC)

India and Gulf Cooperating Council (GCC) announce the intent to pursue negotiations on the India-GCC FTA

India- Canada CEPA negotiation re-launched on the side-lines of¬ 5th India-Canada MDTI (Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment) with the possibility of EPTA (Early Progress Trade Agreement)

India actively engaged in bilateral FTA negotiations including in Trade in Services with the UK, Canada, the EU and Israel

Posted On: 16 DEC 2022 3:54PM by PIB Delhi
  1. Export Performance
  • India’s merchandise export stood at USD 263.3 billion during April-October, 2022-23 as compared to USD 234.0 billion during the period April-October, 2021-22, registering a positive growth of 12.6%.
  • India’s Services export stood at USD 181.39 billion during April-October, 2022-23 as compared to USD 138.01 billion during the period April-October, 2021-22, registering a positive growth of 31.43%.
  • India’s overall export (Merchandise plus Services) increased to US$ 444.74 billion during April-October, 2022-23 as compared to USD 371.98 billion during the period April-October, 2021-22, registering positive growth of 19.56%.
  1. Districts as Export Hubs
  • Department of Commerce through Directorate General of Foreign Trade is working with the States and the districts to channelize the potential and diverse identity in each district of our country to make them export hubs. The Districts as Export Hubs is aimed at targeting export promotion, manufacturing and employment generation at the grass roots level, making the States and Districts meaningful stakeholders and active participants in making India an export powerhouse thereby contributing to the AtmaNirbhar mission and achieving the vision of Make in India for the world and being Vocal for Local, by significantly increasing the manufacturing and exports from urban areas while focusing on generating interest and economic activity in the rural hinterland and small towns in the country to push new businesses to export. A growing focus on exports by focusing on districts as potential export hubs is also likely to integrate India more closely with global value chain and propel India to be a significant exporter by leveraging the diversity and competitiveness in agriculture, marine, textile, pharmaceutical, chemicals and a whole lot of engineering products.
  • Towards this goal, Products/services (including GI products, agricultural clusters, toy clusters etc.) with export potential in all the districts of the country have been identified and institutional mechanism in the form of State Export Promotion Committees (SEPC) at State/UT level and District Export Promotion Committees (DEPCs) at the district level has been created in all districts of the country to provide support for export promotion and address the bottlenecks for export growth in the Districts. The primary function of the DEPC is to prepare and implement District specific Export Action Plans (DEAPs) in collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders from the Center, State and the District.
  • District specific export action plans identifying specific actions required to support local exporters / manufacturers in producing exportable products in adequate quantity and with the requisite quality, and reaching potential buyers outside India have been finalised by DEPCs and jurisdictional DGFT RAs in 242 districts and currently under consultation stage in 338 districts. The export performance of each district in terms of export data is now being captured to measure and rank export performance of each district.
  1. Rupee Trade
  • The Directorate General of Foreign Trade (DGFT) had amended the Foreign Trade Policy vide Notification No. 33/2015-20 dated 16.09.2022, to allow for International Trade Settlement in Indian Rupees (INR) i.e., invoicing, payment, and settlement of exports / imports in Indian Rupees in sync with RBI’s A.P. (DIR Series) Circular No.10 dated 11th July 2022.
  • Further changes have been introduced in the Foreign Trade Policy vide DGFT Notification 43/2015-20 dated 09.11.2022 and Public Notice 35/2015-20 dated 09.11.2022 for grant of exports benefits and fulfilment of Export Obligation for export realisations in Indian Rupees as per the RBI guidelines. Given the rise in interest in internationalisation of Indian Rupee, the given Policy amendments have been undertaken to facilitate and to bring ease in international trade transactions in Indian Rupees.
  1. New Foreign Trade Policy
  • The government has received requests from Export Promotion Councils and leading exporters that we should continue with current Foreign Trade Policy (2015-20), which had been extended from time to time.
  • In recent days, exporters and industry bodies have strongly urged the government that in view of the prevailing, volatile global economic and geo-political situation, it would be advisable to extend the current policy for some time, and undertake more consultations before coming out with the new policy.
  • The government has always involved all stakeholders in formulating policy. In view of this, it has been decided to extend the Foreign Trade Policy 2015-20, valid till Sept 30, 2022 for a further period of six months, w.e.f. October 1st, 2022.
  1. Stake Holder Consultations and Board of Trade meeting
  • Department of Commerce has regularly held stakeholder consultations with various Industry Associations, Export Promotion Councils.  As part of consultation, a Board of Trade meeting was held on 13.9.2022.  The Board of Trade meeting focused on export target setting, the new Foreign Trade Policy (FTP), and the strategies and measures to be taken in order to take forward domestic manufacturing and exports. Board of Trade (BOT) has been constituted by merging Council for Trade Development and Promotion with Board of Trade vide notification No. 11/2015-20 dt 17th July 2019. The Board of Trade, inter alia, advises the Government on policy measures connected with the Foreign Trade Policy in order to achieve the objectives of boosting India’s trade. It provides a platform to state governments and UTs for articulating state-oriented perspectives on Trade Policy. It also acts as a platform to Government of India for appraising State Governments and UTs about international developments affecting India’s trade. It is an important mechanism for deliberations on trade related issues with industry bodies, associations, export promotion councils, and state and UT governments. There were 29 new non-official members who were also invited for the first time in this Board of Trade meeting.
  • During the Board of Trade meeting, presentations were made on a variety of subjects such as India’s Import/ Export Performance, restructuring of the Department of Commerce, FTAs and way forward, States export performance, District as Export Hubs, new proposed Foreign Trade Policy, trade remedial, trade facilitation measures undertaken by customs, Government e-Marketplace etc.
  • Ministers from states made interventions in the meeting, giving their state-specific suggestions, and also expressed their support to the central government initiatives in promoting the external trade.
  • The meeting was attended by Various State Ministers and other senior officials of key line ministries and States, all major trade and industry bodies, Export Promotion Councils and industry associations.
  1. SCOMET – India’s Export Control Framework
  • In consonance with the guidelines and control lists of the international conventions and obligations as well as multilateral export control regimes related to export of dual use goods and technologies, India has regulated the exports of dual use items, nuclear related items, including software and technology. SCOMET (Special Chemicals, Organisms, Materials, Equipment and Technologies) is India’s National Export Control List of dual use items munitions and nuclear related items, including software and technology maintained under Foreign Trade Policy and is aligned to the control lists of the all the multilateral export control regimes and conventions including the Missile Technology Control Regime (MTCR), Wassenaar Arrangement and Australia Group. India’s membership of different export control regimes demonstrated India’s commitment to the global non-proliferation objectives and has enabled Indian companies access to the controlled new age technology and goods in the sectors such as Telecom, Aerospace, Defence sectors etc.
  • The SCOMET List has been notified by DGFT under Appendix 3 to Schedule 2 of ITC (HS) Classification of Export and Import Items. The provisions to control the dual use items have been incorporated in Chapter IVA of Foreign Trade (Development & Regulation) (FTDR) Act, 1992, as amended in 2010.x
  • The SCOMET List is divided into nine categories of items from Category 0 to Category 8.  The export of SCOMET items is regulated and can only be allowed against a SCOMET license issued by DGFT or other agency designated for the purpose. In the recent past, steps have been taken by DGFT to ease the process of licensing by making the application process completely online, facilitating exporters by liberalising the SCOMET policy in case of certain goods and technologies through bulk licensing and general authorisation provisions such as General Authorisation for export of chemicals(GAEC), General Authorisation for export after repair in India(GAER), General Authorisation for Intra Company Transfer(GAICT), Repeat order Authorization etc. The SCOMET list was also updated as per the recent changes incorporated under various export control regimes in November, 2022. Certain policy areas such as liberalising policy for export of SCOMET regulated UAVs/Drones, expanding list of chemicals under GAEC, revising stock and sale policy etc are being looked into for changes in the near future.
  1. NIRYAT Portal
  • In order to supplement the offline monitoring of export performance, a real time online monitoring system for the designated export target (for 200 Countries/territories by 31 commodity groups), via a digitized data-driven framework for facilitating timely policy making/ interventions in international trade, the DoC has developed a portal- NIRYAT (National Import-Export Record for Yearly Analysis of Trade), which was launched by Hon'ble Prime Minister on 23rd June, 2022. The portal also displays State/UT wise export performance with respect to 31 commodity groups.
  • The NIRYAT portal is available at the domain name: It is accessible to Government Stakeholders (including Embassies/HCs/Missions) and Export Promotion Councils (EPCs)/Commodity Boards/Authorities, etc through individual login and password, for regular monitoring of the export performance of their respective jurisdictions and to take necessary action, wherever required. Recently, public portal was created and is now accessible to all.
  1. Developments in Plantation Sector

Tea Board

  • In order to bring transparency, improve efficiency and effectiveness, ease of doing business, Tea Board has on boarded the various components and sub-components of the Tea Development and Promotion Scheme at “Service Plus” platform for the use of stakeholders to bring a holistic development and reach out.
  • The number of compliances under various Control Orders has been significantly reduced for the benefit of the stakeholders and the services were made online.


Coffee Board

  • Coffee Board has implemented online issuance with digital signature of export documents viz., RCMC, Export Permit and ICO Certificate of Origin without any physical interface with the exporters and also integrated with ICEGATE e-Sanchit portal.
  • Coffee Board has established a State of the-art Laboratory Infrastructure for Coffee Quality & Export Certification exclusively for testing Coffee and Coffee products to meet the international quality standards for exports and to ensure that the Coffees imported meet the country’s quality standards. The laboratory is expected to help Indian Coffees to explore premium markets.


Spices Board

  • Spices Board has launched a novel digital platform titled ‘SpiceXchangeIndia” ( for the use of Indian spice exporters to easily connect with the importers across the globe and to facilitate export of spices from the country. This portal is equipped with features like integrated database of global spice traders in a searchable format, artificial intelligence based short listing, 24x7 virtual office space for Indian spice brands, spice market information, access to global spice trade data, etc. In addition, the Board will use this digital platform to organise various export promotion activities online including International Buyer-Seller Meets. This platform has got good potential to open up new business opportunities for the benefit of Indian spice entrepreneurs.
  • A Quality Testing Laboratory was inaugurated in the Spices Board Park at Jodhpur on 20th April, 2022 to facilitate the needs of the exporters and other stakeholders in the region.
  • ​Spices Board has successfully on boarded into e-RCMC portal developed by DGFT as single window system for Export Promotion Councils and Commodity Boards with effect from 19.5.2022. Board has issued 96 CRES certificates through this portal during May-2022.
  • Spices Board, under its initiative Flavourit Spices Trading Limited(FSTL) signed a Terms of Understanding (ToU) on 9th June-2022 with Flipkart, India’s home-grown e-commerce marketplace, to enhance market access and help promote farmers and grassroots organizations working in the spices sector.

Rubber Board

  • The Rubber Board has launched ‘mRube’, an electronic market platform for Natural Rubber. The new electronic trading platform complements the existing trade system of NR with more market visibility and to strengthen the efficacy of domestic supply chain of NR.
  • A project named NEMITRA for supporting development of new rubber plantations in 200,000 ha in North East in 5 years with a contribution of Rs 1,000 Crore from major tyre companies, represented by Automotive Tyre Manufacturers Association (ATMA), was agreed and the project started in 2021. Under this project, rubber planting completed in 3861 ha during 2021. During 2022, planting is underway and completed in 22,868 ha till 20.10.2022. Board developed a common Mobile App “RUBEXT” to capture information of beneficiaries with geo tagged photographs for monitoring progress of the NEMITRA project.
  • Second Edition of the Rubber Board Virtual Trade Fair was launched during April, 2022 with 205 Exhibitors covering different rubber product categories. Rubber Board Virtual Trade Fair is considered as a cost-effective digital platform for promoting Indian rubber and rubber products in the domestic and international market.
  • Rubber Board commissioned Advanced Analysis Laboratory for Rubber products at Rubber Research Institute of India. The new facility will enable the Exporters to conduct independent third-party testing of rubber products for REACH compliance and for Manufacturers in the MSME sector to design REACH compliant product formulations. REACH is the European Union Regulations which deals with Registration, Evaluation, Authorisation and Restriction of Chemical Substances. The objectives of REACH regulation are to protect human health and environment through better and earlier identification of the residual chemical substances in industrial products.
  • Advanced Molecular Plant Pathology Laboratory: The laboratory set up by Rubber Board at Rubber Research Institute of India (RRII) will be helpful in developing techniques for early detection of pathogens and for development of efficient management practices to control diseases. Timely control of diseases in rubber is very important in preventing crop loss and increasing the income of rubber growers.
  1. Developments in Marine Sector
  • Thailand lifted ban on L. vannamei shrimp: As a result of the continuous efforts taken by DoC, the Government of Thailand has lifted the ban on import of frozen vannamei shrimp from India on 15/06/2022, subsequent to the Virtual audit of India's shrimp disease control system.
  • MPEDA released financial assistance of Rs. 4.82 Cr to four beneficiaries during the period Apr-Oct 2022 under various schemes of MPEDA for value addition and infrastructure development.


  1. India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA)
  • The India-UAE CEPA was signed on 18th February 2022 by the Minister of Commerce and Industry Shri Piyush Goyal and Minister of Economy of UAE, H.E. Abdulla bin Touq Al Marri in the virtual presence of the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi and Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan during a Virtual Summit. The Agreement was ratified in March 2022 and came into force from 1st May 2022. The Agreement will provide significant benefits to businesses from both sides including enhanced market access and reduced tariffs. It is expected that the CEPA will lead to increase in bilateral trade from the current USD 60 bn to USD 100 bn in the next 5 years.
  • The India-UAE CEPA is the first deep and full free trade Agreement to be signed by India with any country in the past decade. The Agreement is a comprehensive agreement, which will cover Trade in Goods, Rules of Origin, Trade in Services, Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT), Sanitary and Phytosanitary (SPS) measures, Dispute Settlement, Movement of Natural Persons, Telecom, Customs Procedures, Pharmaceutical products, Government Procurement, IPR, Investment, Digital Trade and Cooperation in other Areas.
  • The CEPA between India and the UAE covers almost all the tariff lines dealt in by India (11,908 tariff lines) and the UAE (7581 tariff lines) respectively. India will benefit from preferential market access provided by the UAE on over 97 % of its tariff lines which account for 99% of Indian exports to the UAE in value terms, especially for all labour-intensive sectors such as Gems and Jewellery, Textiles, leather, footwear, sports goods, plastics, furniture, agricultural and wood products, engineering products, medical devices, and Automobiles. India will also be offering preferential access to the UAE on over 90% of its tariff lines, including lines of export interest to the UAE.
  • As regards trade in services, India has offered market access to the UAE in around 100 sub-sectors, while Indian service providers will have access to around 111 sub-sectors from the 11 broad service sectors such as ‘business services’, ‘communication services’, ‘construction and related engineering services’, ‘distribution services’, ‘educational services’, ‘environmental services’, ‘financial services’, ‘health related and social services’, ‘tourism and travel related services’, ‘recreational cultural and sporting services’ and ‘transport services’.
  • Both sides have also agreed to a separate Annex on Pharmaceuticals to facilitate access of Indian pharmaceuticals products, especially automatic registration and marketing authorization in 90 days for products meeting specified criteria.
  1. Ministerial Committee meeting of the Economic & Investment Pillar held under the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council
  • An Indian delegation led by HCIM visited Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on 18th – 19th September 2022, to participate in the first Ministerial meeting of the Economy & Investment Committee under the India-Saudi Arabia Strategic Partnership Council (SPC). During the Ministerial meeting, more than 40 areas of bilateral cooperation identified by the constituent Joint Working Groups were discussed and ways of implementing priority projects to strengthen trade and investment linkages were discussed. Other high-level bilateral engagements included bilateral meetings with the Saudi Commerce and Energy Ministers, President of the Royal Commission of Jubail and Yanbu.
  1. Visit of H.E. Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)
  • H.E Dr. Nayef Falah M. Al-Hajraf, Secretary General, Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) visited New Delhi on 24th November 2022 and held a bilateral meeting with Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry, Consumer Affairs, Food, and Public Distribution and Textiles, Government of India. The bilateral engagements witnessed significant progress on all matters of mutual interest across the entire gamut of bilateral economic and commercial relations between India and the GCC nations. Both sides announced the intent to pursue negotiations on the India-GCC FTA and agreed to expedite conclusion of the requisite legal and technical requirements for formal resumption of the FTA negotiations.
  1. The India-USA TPF Engagement
  • Trade Policy Forum (TPF) is key pillar of bilateral engagements in resolving the outstanding trade issues from time to time. It is held annually, co-chaired by the HCIM and USTR. Discussions are organized around Working Groups (WGs) on Agriculture, non-Agricultural Goods, Services & Investment and Intellectual Property.
  • After the re-launch of TPF in November, 2021 in New Delhi after four years gap TPF Working Groups on agriculture, non-agriculture goods, services, investment and Intellectual property were re-activated. Most WGs met virtually and separate meetings were held on issues such as WTO disputes etc. In this context, a delegation from the office of USTR visited India in the month of August and October 2022 for informal discussion on the TPF issues.
  • 13th Ministerial TPF meeting is expected in early 2023 in the US and both sides are working on achieving substantial agenda for the same.
  1. 5th India-Canada MDTI (Ministerial Dialogue on Trade and Investment)
  • The 5th India-Canada MDTI meeting was held in New Delhi in the month of March, 2022. Ms. Mary Ng, Canadian Trade Minister and HCIM re-launched the India and CEPA negotiation.
  • After the 5th MDTI meeting the Canadian side has informed that Canada has granted market access for Indian fresh banana and fresh baby corn for exports to Canada which was agreed during the meeting. Indian side also allowed the import of pulses without penalty in case of fumigation on arrival by Methyl Bromide (MBr) until finalization of a systems approach for Canadian pulses.
  1. Re-launch of India-Canada CEPA Negotiations with a proposal to do first Early Harvest Package (or Early Progress Trade Agreement / EPTA)
  • During the visit of Canadian Trade Minister Ms Mary Ng, both sides formally re-launched the CEPA negotiations with the possibility of EPTA (Early Progress Trade Agreement or interim agreement). EPTA can be a stepping stone to CEPA. It should aim at providing competitive tariff elimination/reduction on a range of goods and open new services markets for suppliers in various sectors, for both sides. It was agreed that EPTA shall include high level commitments in goods, services, rules of origin, sanitary and phytosanitary measures, technical barrier to trade and dispute settlement and any other area agreed.
  • Five Rounds have been conducted till November end with 3rd and 4th round held in person in Canada and New Delhi respectively.
  • The following Chapters/ policy areas are currently under negotiations.
  1. Trade in Goods/National Treatment and Market Access (NTMA)
  2. Customs Procedures and Trade Facilitation
  3. Rules of Origin & Origin Procedures
  4. Trade Remedies
  5. Sanitary and Phytosanitary Measures (SPS)
  6. Technical Barriers to Trade (TBT)
  7. Trade in Services (TIS) which includes (a) Telecommunication Services, (b) Movement of Natural Persons/Temporary Entry of Business Persons, (c) Professional Services, and (d) Financial Services
  8. Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs)
  9. Trade and Gender
  10. Institutional Matters (Core Provisions and Transparency)
  11. Dispute Settlement
  12. Environment
  13. Labour
  14. Investment
  1. Engagement with Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF)
  • IPEF was launched jointly by USA and other partner countries of the Indo Pacific region on May 23, 2022 at Tokyo. India joined the IPEF. The IPEF seeks to strengthen economic engagement among partner countries with the goal of advancing growth, peace and prosperity in the region. The framework is inclusive and allows flexibility to partner countries to associate with pillars based on their respective priorities.
  • The IPEF partner countries include Australia, Brunei, Fiji, India, Indonesia, Japan, Republic of Korea, Malaysia, New Zealand, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Vietnam and USA (14 countries as of now).
  • India joined 3 pillars - Supply Chains (Pillar 2), Clean Economy (Pillar 3) and Fair Economy (Pillar 4).
  • CIM participated in the IPEF Ministerial meeting during 8th-9th September in LA, USA during which Ministerial Joint Statements were issued for each pillar outlining the scope of further negotiations in each pillar.
  • Expected outcomes/ benefits could be: cooperation in supply chain resilience; investment in critical supply chains, climate finance mobilization, economic cooperation, promoting rule-based trading system, technical assistance, capacity building etc.
  1. Twelfth Ministerial Conference of the WTO (12th -17th June 2022) (MC12)
  • The Twelfth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference (“MC-12”) was held in Geneva, Switzerland during 12th-17th June, 2022 and concluded with outcomes in the form of Declarations, Decisions and Agreements. India participated in the Conference with a delegation led by Hon'ble CIM. MC-12 proved to be a successful Ministerial Conference as it resulted in outcomes in different areas after seven years. India participated constructively in the negotiations in all areas which were part of agenda i.e. agriculture, fisheries, WTO response to pandemic, TRIPS Waiver, Moratorium on E-Commerce and WTO reform. The outcome package comprised of Decisions including on fisheries subsidies, WTO response to the pandemic, food insecurity, e-commerce. These outcomes have strengthened the multilateral trading system of the WTO as members came together in pursuit of mutually beneficial outcomes.
  • During the year 2022, in the run up to MC 12, a number of submissions were made at the WTO for advancing negotiations across different areas. India, along with the G-33, has been engaging for achieving a permanent solution to the Public Stockholding for Food Security purposes (PSH). More than 80 countries from three large groups - Africa Group, Africa Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP) and G33, co-sponsored a joint harmonized text on PSH, in May 2022.
  • India also led the initiative to present a Developing countries reform paper “Strengthening the WTO to promote development and inclusivity” in August 2019, which was further revised in February 2022 to keep the reform discussion alive in the run-up to MC12 and again revised in July 2022.
  • In order to fulfil its transparency and notification obligation commitments, India submitted relevant notifications to the WTO in its various Committees including the Committee on Agriculture.
  1. Informal WTO Ministerial Gathering January 2022
  • An informal WTO ministerial gathering was organised by Switzerland on 21st January, 2022 in the virtual format. The Indian delegation was led by Hon’ble CIM. The meeting was chaired by the President of the Swiss Confederation and Federal Councillor Mr. Guy Parmelin and was attended by 29 Ministers/ Vice -Ministers and high officials representing a broad spectrum of WTO membership.
  • The Ministers were invited to share their assessment of the current state of the negotiations at the WTO and how Member countries could reach pragmatic and tangible outcomes with regard to (i) areas where decisions with immediate effects and/or agreements should be finalized including the WTO response both to the current pandemic and future ones to ensure that multilateral trade rules, including the intellectual property system, support international efforts to combat health crises and an agreement on harmful fisheries subsidies, in line with SDG 14.6; and (ii) Mapping out future WTO work and objectives in respect of multilateral agriculture negotiations under Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture and WTO reform including reform of the WTO’s negotiating function, dispute settlement function and monitoring and deliberative function.
  • Hon'ble CIM called for patent waiver for vaccines, drugs and devices and highlighted that developed world should not use the pandemic as a 'veil to secure market access' in developing countries, as a response to the pandemic. He emphasized that on fisheries negotiations it was essential that big subsidisers take greater responsibility to reduce their subsidies as the mistakes made during the Uruguay Round should not be repeated. HCIM stated that in agriculture negotiations any attempt to take them forward under Article 20 of the Agreement on Agriculture should build on the progress achieved on various issues under the Doha Round. He mentioned that India was committed to WTO reforms to make the organisation more contemporary, without compromising on the founding principles, preserving its member-driven character and consensus-based decision making, while reaffirming the principle of special and differential treatment. He also cautioned that developing countries should not be asked to vacate their trade policy space.
  1. Enhancing Services Trade through Free Trade Agreements
  • During 2022, India signed Free Trade Agreements (FTA) including Trade in Services with the UAE on 18th February, 2022, and with Australia on 2nd April, 2022. While the India-UAE Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (CEPA) entered into force on 1st May, 2022, the India-Australia Economic Cooperation and Trade Agreement (ECTA) is yet to enter into force. Important gains for India in the India UAE agreement are as follows:-
    • Commercially meaningful market access commitments by UAE in all important sub sectors (111 out of total 160 sub-sectors)
    • Potential for UAE to be leveraged as a hub for exports to other countries especially in Gulf and African region. Substantial export potential in India’s key areas of interest :
      • Full commitments in Computer Related Services will benefit the Indian IT/ITES sector.
      • Commitments in Services like Audio visual services, Education services, Health Services, Tourism & Travel related services will amplify India’s soft power.
      • Commitments in professional services ( Nursing, engineering, accountancy etc.) and Other Business Services will help diversify exports.
    • Obligations on mutual recognition of professional and skilled services in the Agreement will facilitate professionals and skilled workers to deliver services.
    • Market access offered for Business Visitors, Intra Corporate Transferees, and Contractual Services Suppliers in a range of services sectors.
  • Similarly, enhancement of trade opportunities for services exports from India to Australia may get a boost through following set of commitments in India Australia ECTA:-
  • Australia is making broad and deep commitments in around 135 sub sectors. Key areas of India’s interest like IT, ITES, Business services, Health, Education, Audio visual being committed by Australia.
  • Australia has committed to pursue Mutual Recognition agreements(MRAs) in professional services in 12 months.
  • Liberal commitments have been offered in the different categories of movement of service suppliers (Business visas, Contractual Service Suppliers, Intra-corporate transferees) in treaty.
  • Australia has agreed to commit on post study work visa (2-4 years) for Indian students. Australia has agreed for a Work and Holiday Visa for youth.
  • Annual quota of 1800 for Yoga teachers and Indian Chefs.
  • Currently, India is actively engaged in bilateral FTA negotiations including in Trade in Services with the UK, Canada, the EU and Israel. Due to the intangible nature of Services, barriers to Services trade present themselves largely in the form of restrictive and uncertain market access, domestic regulations and terms of treatment. The focus in the Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) is to secure certainty in market access and national treatment across maximum services sectors and seek regulatory environment which is transparent, objective and least burdensome.
  1. Pursuing Services interests in multilateral trade at the WTO
  • For the twelfth Ministerial Conference (MC) of WTO (June, 2022), India along with South Africa and Indonesia had made a submission supporting re-invigoration of work under the Work Programme on E-Commerce, including the development related issues under it. India stressed that increasing participation of developing countries in global e-commerce continues to be a challenge and that there has been no comprehensive assessment of the developmental aspects of global e-commerce under the WPEC. Accordingly, at MC12, the Membership agreed to reinvigorate the work under the WPEC, based on the existing mandate and particularly in line with its development dimension.
  • Since MC11, India has been making several submissions at the WTO demonstrating that a reconsideration of the e-commerce moratorium is important for developing countries to preserve policy space for their digital advancement, to regulate imports and for generating revenue through Customs duties. At MC12, while the moratorium was temporarily extended up to MC13 (or latest to 31st March, 2024), the Membership agreed to intensify discussions on the moratorium, including on its scope, definition, and impact.
  • A Ministerial Declaration on the WTO response to the current and future pandemics was adopted at MC12. In these negotiations, India consistently argued for including elements which reflect the critical role of services. Notable elements related to services contained in the Ministerial Declaration include acknowledging the importance of facilitating trade in services including health services and ICT services, stressing on the importance of services trade across sectors and modes of supply to support economic recovery of members, acknowledging the relevance of further cooperation including on recognition of vaccination certificates and interoperability and mutual recognition of digital health applications, noting the importance of the WTO working along with other international organizations on an international pandemic response including activities such as expeditious matching of supply to demand and mutual recognition norms related to services, and affirming the need to build effective solutions for future pandemics. In this regard, the membership decided that the relevant bodies including the Council for Trade in Services or its relevant subsidiary bodies will initiate work to analyze lessons that have been learned and challenges experienced during the COVID-19 pandemic.



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