Incentivize MNCs In Auto Sector, Scrap Import Duties: Govt Panel Recommendation To Boost Exports


India needs to incentivize multinational corporations in sectors like auto components to set up mother plants here, scrap import duties on principal raw materials for furniture and toys, fix anomalies in existing free trade agreements (FTAs) and forge new ones with key economies to boost exports of manufactured products, a government-backed panel has suggested.

The Steering Committee for Advancing Local Value-Add and Exports (SCALE) – headed by former Mahindra & Mahindra managing director Pawan Goenka has firmed up specific suggestions to boost exports of manufactured products in 24 priority sectors, reported Financial Express. These include auto components, textiles, marine products, farm and processed food items, certain electric vehicles, toys and furniture.

While global trade in auto components stood at $1.3 trillion in 2019 (before the pandemic), India’s share was just $15 billion, the panel said, flagging the untapped potential. It has set an export target of $30 billion for the auto parts industry by FY26.

The country should revisit the South Asian Free Trade Agreement (SAFTA) to better suit current realities and “explore favorable trade agreements” with Canada, the US, the EU and Mexico to brighten export prospects, it added. It acknowledged the crucial role of the proposed Rs 57,042-crore PLI scheme for the auto parts sector. At the same time, it also wants the government to develop dedicated export hubs, incentivize spending on R&D and promote investment in auto electronics and semiconductor.

Also, Read This: India Needs USD 100 billion of FDI Every Year To Become a USD 5 trillion Economy

To boost exports of furniture, in which India’s share was less than 1% globally in 2019, the panel has suggested that at least 3-4 integrated hubs be developed near ports. MNCs should then be lured into investing in the hubs through incentives. Appropriate policy interventions, such as duty-free imports of key inputs and a favorable timber policy, need to be initiated.

In textiles, the panel wants India to revisit both SAFTA and the Asean FTA and have sectoral trade pacts with Canada, the UK & the EU. India must focus on downstream value addition, diversify into man-made fibre products in a big way and facilitate mega clusters to address cost competitiveness. It has set an ambitious export target of $80 billion for textiles and garments in the next five years from about $37 billion (in 2019).

Similarly, for bolstering farm and processed food exports, the country needs to re-negotiate imports tariffs and firm up trade pacts with the EU, the US and the UAE. Rigorous brand-building exercise must be undertaken to promote Indian products.

In the leather and footwear segment, India’s costs are about 20% higher than that in China, Vietnam and Indonesia, which needs to be removed, according to the panel. It has pitched for setting up export-oriented integrated plug-and-play clusters for footwear with common infrastructure facilities to enable even small players to operate with minimal costs.

The panel’s suggestions for the priority sectors aim to double manufacturing exports over the next five years, reduce imports by two-thirds and drive up annual domestic consumption growth to about 9% from roughly 7% in a normal year. SCALE has estimated that focus on these three critical factors would catalyze incremental domestic value addition of $350-380 billion over the next five years.

Also, Read This: IT Manufacturing Is The Key For India To Achieve The Target of USD 5 Trillion Economy



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