CII calls for easier visa rules to boost exports

CII calls for easier visa rules to boost exports
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First Published: Thu, Apr 05 2007. 06 50 PM IST
Updated: Thu, Apr 05 2007. 06 50 PM IST
New Delhi: The Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has identified three focus areas to boost exports from India in a survey conducted by the industry chamber, prior to the announcement of Foreign Trade Policy 2007-08.
The three focus areas highlighted in the survey are upgradation of trade infrastructure in India, further relaxation in import and export procedures and proactive engagement in trade agreements with other countries.
CII said one of the major hurdles faced by exporters, especially the ones faced by small manufacturers, was the strict rules for issuing business visas by certain countries.
“Small manufacturers face problems in getting visas from developed countries like the US, EU and Japan due to lack of technical requirements such as a proper letter of introduction. On several occasions their visa requests get rejected,” T.S. Vishwanath, head of the International Trade Policy Division, CII told livemint.com.
He added that the industry body is entering into arrangements with the embassies of the above nations in order to help the small-scale manufacturers gather visas in a hassle-free manner.
As far as improving trade infrastructure is concerned, the survey pointed out that issues such as high inland haulage charges, long turnaround time in Indian ports and long delivery periods must be addressed urgently as these factors affect cost competitiveness of Indian exports.
Referring to a World Trade Organization study, the industry body said maritime transport cost for India would decrease by over 15% if port efficiency in India were at the level of France or Sweden. Inland haulage costs from Delhi to Mumbai are estimated to be approximately 30% of the freight charges from India to Europe.
On cumbersome import and export procedures, the survey said exports to Sri Lanka face regular delays due to longer inspection procedures. The cost of import is very high in India as compared to China. A World Bank report puts it at $1,244 (Rs53,809) per container for India, and the corresponding figure for China is $375 (Rs16,160).
Abrupt discontinuation of export-promotion schemes like ‘Target Plus’ has adversely impacted export plans for the companies, the CII survey said. The exporters are willing to reach strategic overseas markets and eager to see India enter in to free trade agreements with countries, which are potential markets for Indian products, the CII study added.
Trade agreements with other countries should not only include goods, but also services and investment to widen the scope of trade, the industry body added in its report. The study also laid importance on the need for mutual recognition of standards to prevent non-trade barriers making Indian exports less effective in penetrating the global markets.
The survey said the exporters want better trade infrastructure in India, higher market access and market research inputs of strategic international markets for deeper penetration. It covered a broad spectrum of Indian companies in manufacturing and service sectors like textiles, engineering, food products and IT.
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First Published: Thu, Apr 05 2007. 06 50 PM IST