The government is working on reforms in the Special Economic Zone (SEZ) domain to facilitate the smooth movement of goods between the domestic tariff area (DTA) and SEZ space without compromising the competitiveness of goods in export markets, according to Commerce Secretary Sunil Barthwal.
The SEZ areas were affected during the pandemic as many office spaces were vacated due to the ‘work from home’ practice, leading to the demarcation of SEZs into SEZ and DTA spaces. The reforms aim to ensure the unhindered movement of goods between the SEZ and DTA, maintaining the competitiveness of the produced goods.
Barthwal highlighted the importance of scale economies in the present scenario and emphasised that the reforms are intended to address challenges arising from the demarcation of SEZs. He mentioned that the foreign trade policy (FTP) has been designed to help exporters take advantage of the global value chain. The target of achieving $2 trillion in exports by 2030 is considered feasible, with $1 trillion expected from merchandise exports and another $1 trillion from services.
“Scale economies have become very important nowadays. Reforms in the SEZ are in the offing so that movement of goods from SEZ to DTA and vice versa are not affected, rendering goods produced less competitive”, Barthwal said at a symposium organised by the Bharat Chamber of Commerce.
Acknowledging the increasing demand for free trade agreements (FTAs) with India, Barthwal noted that understanding the principles of ‘give and take’ is crucial in bilateral and multilateral agreements.
“Our FTP has been designed for exporters to take advantage of the global value chain. The industry, which had always sought protection in the past, will now have to integrate with the global value chain and look at where the competitive advantage lay”, he added.
He also highlighted the challenges posed by countries such as the UK and the US, which are raising standards by introducing sanitary and phytosanitary issues in imported goods. Adhering to these evolving standards is becoming increasingly difficult, he added.
(With PTI inputs)