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|October 15, 1999||
Maran to focus on India's WTO stance, recast of export strategy, competitive domestic industry
Commerce Minister Murasoli Maran has said that the government will evolve a national consensus on issues that are likely to crop up at the Seattle ministerial meeting of the World Trade Organisation.
''We will carry national consensus on topics that are vital for safeguarding the interest of domestic industry,'' Maran told mediapersons in New Delhi today.
He said the Prime Minister's Office is holding a meeting with commerce and other ministries concerned tomorrow to give final shape to India's approach at the Seattle meet.
''I cannot say anything more on individual aspects/issues involved now,'' he said.
Commerce ministry targets 11 pc growth in exports
Meanwhile, the commerce ministry, which is now under Maran, has set up a modest target of 11 per cent growth rate in India's exports this year.
''Achieving a quantum jump in exports will be a great priority,'' said Maran.
The approach to export strategy should change in its profile. Instead of sticking to traditional items, emphasis should be on export of software, electronics, expansion of production base and new thinking.
He visualised that the next century should put India on top of electronic exports world -- both software and hardware. ''I will concentrate on computerisation and electronic data interchange progress,'' he added.
The commerce ministry should think of radical reforms in foreign direct investment, special economic zones, labour laws, customs procedures, foreign exchange regulations, etc. ''We have to slowly overcome constraints in power, infrastructure like ports, etc.''
He said the rupee is ''not hurting'' as of now and he was not opposed to free trade zones.
'No joint ventures at the cost of domestic industry'
Maran said he is against joint ventures at the cost of domestic industry.
Obtaining No Objection Certificate is a must for foreign partners. ''It is there in guidelines. Otherwise the domestic industry will die,'' he emphasised.
Successful implementation of the first generation reforms has paved way for next wave of reforms, with emphasis shifting from regulation to development. Consolidation of industrial legislation both at central and state level is imporant. This can be done by eliminating multiplicity of approvals and other forms of administrative barriers, further liberalisation of FDI regime by way of enlargement of automatic route and inclusion of new sectors, he said.
The Foreign Investment Implementation Authority which has been recently set up for this purpose, will be duly empowered to provide composite/comprehensive approvals.
The new wave of reforms would strengthen investment marketing efforts and FDI. Current annual FDI inflow is $ 3.5 to 4 billion. During the first nine months of this calendar year, it was around $ 3 billion against the targeted $ 10 billion for the whole year.
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