Hindustan Times (Bathinda)

E-commerce seeks a slot in India’s trade basket

- Tarush Bhalla tarush.b@livemint.com

BENGALURU: India’s coming foreign trade policy may have a separate chapter dealing with e-commerce for the first time amid demands for helping millions of manufactur­ers become exporters, said three people familiar with the developmen­t.

Several e-commerce firms, including Amazon India, Walmart Inc., ebay, Paypal and industry bodies Ficci and CII have sent recommenda­tions for export promotion in the new policy. The Foreign Trade Policy 2021, being formulated, is likely to come into effect on April 1.

The suggestion­s made to the Directorat­e General of Foreign Trade are largely on digitisati­on and call for compliance burdens to be eased for MSMES.

Companies and industry bodies have recommende­d creating a ‘knowledge centre’ for spreading export awareness among MSMES, setting up a separate export promotion council for e-commerce, digitising and creating a single-window export clearance process.

The draft foreign trade policy is currently under review with commerce minister Piyush Goyal before it is released to government secretarie­s for any additional consultati­on, said the first of the three people. Mint has reviewed the documents.

“The coming foreign trade policy can provide the perfect opportunit­y for e-commerce exports to scale, and we have been part of forums suggesting structural changes. Awareness and knowledge hubs through export promotion councils, creating foreign post offices in every district and setting up export promotion zones around the country can help remove the structural blockers for MSMES to boost exports,” said Abhijit Kamra, director, global trade, Amazon India.

Last year, Amazon Inc. chief Jeff Bezos said his firm will export ‘Make in India’ products worth $10 billion by 2025. Amazon India has so far facilitate­d exports worth $2 billion in this mission.

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